Updated: Jun 21, 2019
At Einstein Academy, we say our approach to education is “REAL Learning,” but what does that really mean? For us, REAL stands for reflective, engaging, authentic, and life. When designing our program, we were very cognizant that 85% of the jobs our students will hold don’t exist yet, so focusing on today’s world and the needs of today’s world isn’t sufficient. Our students need to focus on the skills that will bring them success in their world and understand how their learning helps to prepare them for that world -- hence REAL Learning.
R - Reflective - John Dewey (20th century philosopher and educational reformer, often considered the father of experiential education) once said, “We do not learn from experience...we learn from reflecting on experience.” At Einstein Academy, we believe reflection is a vital component in the growth of students, helping them to become active learners and thoughtful people and members of our community. By emphasizing the reflective nature of learning, we also focus on the social-emotional growth, fostering students’ self-awareness, empathy, and general emotional intelligence.
E - Engaging - The Jerusalem Talmud says, “If you understand the why and wherefore of what you learn, you do not forget it quickly.” At Einstein Academy, we know that when students are engaged in their learning, they bring their best selves and create the best possible learning environment for themselves and others. We take time to get to know students as individuals so that we can differentiate learning for each student and infuse student interests and passions into that learning. Additionally, we focus on learning that matters, showing students the relevance of what they learn and help them to apply it beyond the classroom.
A - Authentic - Margaret Mead (20th century cultural anthropologist) said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” At Einstein Academy, by engaging in authentic learning, students are able to see how their learning is relevant and matters and makes an impact on their world. We believe in being a resource to the community, helping to solve the community’s problems, and showing students that they can make a difference today (as a fourth grader, second grader, or even a kindergartener) and don’t have to wait until they “grow up.” Additionally, a key to authentic learning is a true integration of different subject areas, modeling the way the world works in applying knowledge and skills from different content areas in order to solve problems.
L - Life - A Latin saying goes, “Non scholae, sed vitae” or “Not for school, but for life.” At Einstein Academy, we recognize that most of the jobs our students will hold in the future don’t exist today, so we foster the skills that will help them be successful throughout their lives. We use content that aligns to state standards to teach skills such as collaboration, creativity, critical thinking, communication, and self-management and infuse it with a basis in Jewish values and culture so that students have a strong understanding of who they are and how they can (and do) contribute on a daily basis.
By taking the REAL learning approach, we are able to create an environment that understands the needs of each student, gives those students the tools and knowledge they will need to be successful in the future...and, perhaps most importantly (for the students, at least) makes learning fun.