I scientifically observed children aged 3 - 14 for one year in 2011 and based on my observations chose to target 3 - 5 year olds. I did so because among the high poverty families I observed:
1. 3 year olds were the most intrinsically motivated to learn.
2. Parents were most involved in the learning sessions with the 3-year olds.
3. When parents were involved 3-year olds were more engaged in the learning session than older child.
These observations were among a group of 43 children in a high poverty school community. The socio-economic, racial, linguistic demographics of the children paralleled the school’s student population and the city’s population. A few families smoked marijuana before learning sessions. Many families lived in crowded conditions, including 5 families in a 3 bedroom home, one family in a garage and 3 families in a 2 bedroom apt. Almost all families reported their older children were below grade level in grade school or that they didn’t know how they were performing in school. Most families reported receiving some form of government assistance and making below/near federal poverty income thresholds. Among latino families, most parents involved in learning sessions spoke only in Spanish and about 40% were direct immigrants to the US from Central/ SOuth American country.
I have been a aprt of this community since age 13 in 1993, just two years after the community was the murder capital of the US. i primarily hung with drop outs, drug dealers and gang members. It was very natural for me to interact with members of the community. When I began enrolling families he felt at home visiting homes and experiencing their living conditions. On a number of occasions, I would ask people walking in front of a house to come in and translate for parents. I also recruited and trained all the volunteers who provided the learning sessions. Only English was used to ensure that volunteers could be recruited (other extremely valuable reasons for providing learning sessions only in English emerged there after.) Families trusted that I was letting trustworthy people into their homes. Volunteers, too, trusted me but had less info to gop on. Ultimately, volunteers wanted to make a difference and saw the risk of going to a stranger’s home as lower than the prospects of increasing a child’s chances of succeeding in school by having access to home tutoring.
Parenthetically, preschools were initially excited about the home tutoring program and referred their families. Eventually, they came to fear the home tutoring as a competitor to their programming and ceased t refer their students.
Based on my scientific observations preschool aged children were targeted. And, their parents were required to be involved in tutoring lessons. That was scientific observations phase 1. Phase 2 stretched for the next 4 years from 2011-2015 as I built infrastructure around delivering home tutoring and growing enrollment.
Phase 3 began in 2016 when I began video observing my tutoring sessions and working with video documenting many preschools as they entered the program in order to develop a scalable pedagogy.
Paul is currently in Phase 3.
Since 2012, the results associated with tutoring sessions and increasing learning how to incorporate a pedagogy that identifies and cultivates ILMs has been staggering.
- Graduates in grades K-3 are performing at/above grade level
- Graduates are at performing 47% of CA students in math and 10% in math.
- Children with autism are nudging off the spectrum.
- Children with attention problems pay perfect attention during tutoring lessons.
- Spanish speaking children become fluent in English and more advanced in Spanish (the family translator in many instances)
- Children with speech delays refereed by local pediatricians are consistently diagnosed normal.
- Children diagnosed with “learning disabilities” typically outpace learning expectations by one full grade to one and a half grade level.
- Children typically enter the program three months delayed in academic subjects, such as literacy, numeracy and language. Yet perform at/above grade level after entering grade school.
- Local pediatricians write prescriptions for the program.
The US education system struggles with disengaged students, half of who struggle academically. Among low income students, some 70% struggle academically. Yet, IM research shows that IM is associated with enhanced learning, performance, creativity and affective experience (Di Domenic + Ryan, 2017)
IM experts cite that about age 6 children's IM begins to fade over the course of grade school.
Could it be true that the way adults have structured education and daily life kills IM beginning at age 6? At about this age schools and parents begin vigorously impose rules, expectations and values on children, basically communicating the message : “It’s time you begin to grow up. The real world is a difficult place to live in and you must learn from me what it takes to make it in the real world.”
Essentially, we say to children “we don’t trust that if we let you lead the way (in ILM T we would cultivate the pathway the child chooses, not just let the child roam) you will be able to learn what’s needed to survive and thrive in the real world.”
This position makes sense. We’ve developed a black and white model of children. Either let them direct themselves or direct them. ILM M finds the middle point by zeroing in on what makes children direct themselves in the first place, and then incorporates adult experience and knowledge to expand on their innate tendencies and motivations. ILM M offers a platform based on good science and easily observable evidence (e.g. the biggest contributors to society pursue their IMs to the max) for how to provide an optimal education based on nurturing each child’s unique developmental trajectory.