Keep Calm and Learn On

A meditating frog

Calm and concentration are essential to learning. Yet, in the high stakes, fast-paced, memorize and regurgitate modern American academic meritocratic classroom, where secondary school students switch from learning Calculus to Shakespeare in five minutes or less after deftly navigating the social complexity in crowded (even in COVID-affected days) hallways from one class to the next, calm is difficult to find and even harder to maintain. 

Then, once seated, the teacher having finally corralled the entire class’ attentions—a feat on any given day to command 35 teenagers’ focus simultaneously then sustain it for the duration of a 55 minute class period, let alone in the COVID-hybrid classroom where teachers broadcast and present in person simultaneously, increasing the odds of a student being left out of the conversation—the lesson commences. 

For any student who doesn’t immediately comprehend the complex information being presented, they can be frustrated or panicked, possibly already insecure about their intellectual acumen in a particular subject, or disinterested in the subject, thus anxious, devoid of calm.  Yet, often a student’s confusion masquerades as a lack of understanding. The teacher, still managing 35 teenagers, can’t always stop and focus solely on comprehension of one student or to even properly diagnose where the learning process is breaking down

Thus, often, students believe tutoring is the solution, which typically ranges from homework assistance to actual remediation, but depends on the ability of the tutor to diagnose the learning block as well as be adept enough, equipped with a variety of techniques, based on their understanding of the subject matter, to help students (re)learn the material, while working with the subsequent emotional responses which can arise when students lack confidence in their intellectual ability, “not liking a particular subject”, and/or objections to the teacher’s presentation style or personality. 

The learning process is a complex, fluid, dynamic experience, influenced by the mood and attitude, founded in the complex history of each student. Unpacking such intricacy requires a willingness of a student to divulge their thinking, and the dexterity of the teacher, tutor or other mentor to objectively qualify a learning outcome and adjust as necessary to ensure a concept is learned, a process that requires patience arising from devotion to the betterment of beings desiring to vanquish ignorance and evolve their understanding


For more information about how the educational experts at Creative Marbles help students and parents navigate the modern learning process while seeking to unleash the potential of a young person, contact us

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About Jill Yoshikawa, Ed M, Partner of Creative Marbles Consultancy

Jill Yoshikawa, EdM, Harvard ’99, a seasoned, 25 year educator and consultant, is meticulous in helping clients navigate all aspects of the educational experience, no matter the level of complexity. She combines educational theory with experience to advise families, schools and educators. A UCSD and Harvard graduate, as well as a former high school teacher, Jill works tirelessly to help her clients succeed.
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