Mountainville Academy utilizes teaching methods that are validated by research and have proven successful throughout time. Methods of instruction were chosen for their alignment with the school’s philosophy, which generally follows the principles of a classical education, and their compatibility with the school’s curriculum programs. Brought together, these elements provide the framework for an exceptional educational program designed to elevate the achievement of all students, enhance their success, and build their self-confidence.
Direct Instruction is a method of teaching that is rigorous, fast-paced, and emphasizes clearly defined and highly structured instruction. It requires significant interaction between students and the teacher through well-developed and carefully planned lessons that are sequential and presented in small learning increments. New concepts and skills are introduced through active teacher presentations to the whole class or small groups, followed by guided practice for mastery, and frequent checks for assessment of progress. This explicit and clear instruction helps to eliminate confusion and misunderstanding to greatly improve and accelerate learning, even among scholastically struggling and at-risk students.
Multi-sensory instruction focuses on essential components identified by current research to be most effective in teaching concepts and skills, and is designed to engage the entire brain through the visual, auditory, kinesthetic, and tactile sensory systems. Teaching is effectuated using all learning pathways in the brain simultaneously in order to enhance memory and learning in a direct, systematic and cumulative way. Instruction requires that the organization of material follows a logical order, beginning with the easiest and most basic elements and progressing to more difficult material. Each concept is based on those already learned and systematically reviewed to strengthen memory, with continuous student-teacher interaction.
Differentiated instruction is a way of thinking about teaching and learning, as well as a collection of strategies that help teachers better address and manage the variety of learning needs in the classroom. Based on best practices in education, Differentiated Instruction means recognizing the learning diversity in the classroom, affirming that students have different learning strengths and styles, maintaining a commitment to curriculum standards and learning goals, achnowledging what students already know and can do, and recognizing that students do not all need to do the same work in the same way.
Students are assigned into small groups of similar academic levels during common periods for core subjects such as reading and math, and taught at their appropriate instructional pace. Frequent assessment will monitor progress and allow students to move from group to group according to their readiness.
In addition, Mountainville Academy students expand their knowledge and understanding through hands-on activities, experiential opportunities and varied learning expeditions, the inclusion of which strengthens and enriches a well-rounded academic program.