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DISCOVER PAIDEIA's MODEL
FOR EFFECTIVE LEARNING

Our unique learning model empowers children while shaping their futures. Our program focuses on the whole person to ensure success. With our body, mind, heart, spirit curriculum, our scholars experience the character development of a true leader.

PAIDEIA LEARNING MODEL

The moral mission of Paideia Academy is to empower the whole-person – body, mind, heart, spirit – through education.

An important end to the Paideia school is the development of intellectual skills – skills of learning through reading, writing, speaking, listening, calculating, problem-solving, observing, measuring, estimating, and exercising critical judgment. Not only are these skills important in school, but they are critical in every area of life. The Paideia Academy uses the following methods to accomplish the end-in-mind goal of intellectual development within the scholar – Authentic literacy, Paideia Seminar, intellectual coaching, and didactic instruction.

To understand the Paideia model more deeply, we recommend you obtain and study “The Paideia Program: An educational syllabus” by Mortimer J. Adler

One of the central cores of the Paideia model is authentic literacy. Scholars will partake in extensive reading, writing, and discussion grounded in evidence from fiction/non-fiction texts across all disciplines – literature, social studies, science, or math.

Beginning with the early grades in elementary school, Paideia scholars are expected to read an unprecedented amount of classical literature. Intellectual activities across all disciplines culminate in the Paideia seminar.

Paideia Seminar is a collaborative, intellectual dialogue facilitated by open-ended questions about a text or topic to expand and increase understanding of ideas, concepts, and values. This method is more often referred to as the Socratic Method, during which the teacher acts as a facilitator guiding the students into a meaningful dialogue.

As questions drive critical thought, the goal of Paideia Seminar is for students to expand their understanding through thoughtful dialogue rather than by memorizing bits of information.

The Paideia Seminar nurtures intellectual skills by teaching students to ask higher order critical thinking questions of analyzing, evaluating, and creating.

This instructional method nurtures social skills by teaching students the art of speaking and listening within respectful dialogue.

This instructional method also nurtures the academic skills of critical, purposeful reading and reflective writing in Paideia Seminar journals.

The seminars occur approximately 15-20% of instructional time. Assessment and evaluation of the seminars occurs through pre and post seminar tools and processes including self-identified goals, discussion, and writing.

Within the framework of intellectual coaching, the teacher is the guide and facilitator through modeling and reflective questioning. It is an artful blend of information, challenge, drill, and encouragement; the teacher helps the student see the order and to habituate into the right steps and motions. The emphasis in coaching is on the scholar getting his or her ideas to work accurately and then practicing the skill. Most often, this is a slow, tedious, patience-testing process.

The coaching strategy seeks to develop the intellectual and critical thinking skills of students and culminates in student-led, collaborative literacy-based projects. The goal of intellectual coaching is to raise students towards higher levels of independent critical thinking – evaluating, synthesizing, and creating.

The cycle didactic instruction and intellectual coaching are closely intertwined. While didactic instruction is the delivery of information, intellectual coaching is the artful blend of information, challenge, drill, and encouragement. Within the Paideia model of learning, the two methods are not separated but constantly support the other.

Didactic instruction is the delivery of factual information through teacher-led discussion, demonstration, videos, and reading – the acquisition of organized knowledge. The goal of Didactic Instruction is for students to acquire the basic “must know information” about a subject. By acquiring the basic knowledge of a subject, students gain confidence to move to the next level of learning. Didactic instruction focuses on the lower level critical thinking skills of remembering, understanding, and applying. Didactic instruction is a rich and continuous cycle of the following:

  1. Teach to the Objective – 3 to 5 minutes of direct teacher led instruction.
  2. Guided Practice – scholars are given 3 to 5 minutes in partner or small groups to practice the presented instruction.
  3. Checking for Understanding – the teacher circulates through the room to check for scholar understanding.
  4. Independent Practice – engaged only after nearly all scholars have mastered the learning objective.
  5. This cycle is repeated until nearly all of the scholars have mastered the learning objective. Only after nearly all scholars have mastered the learning objective does the teacher engage them in independent practice. There might be a few scholars who have not mastered the learning objective. During independent practice, the teacher engages those few scholars in more intensive instruction in a small group setting.

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