The Academy’s teaching methods focus on thinking skills and a sincere regard for the uniqueness of each individual learner. This learning environment is particularly suited to the needs of extremely bright students in other respects as well. Intellectual growth is a socially constructed process, and profoundly gifted students need to interact with like-minded cohorts in order to discuss, experiment, and reach their potential as learners. Such students also need instructors who understand how to shape classroom experiences around the uncommon nuances of their thinking. The interpersonal and instructional dynamics at the Academy accommodate both of these needs in an atmosphere that is vibrant with intellectual energy and dialogue.
Since students of high ability are homogeneously grouped, instructors are able to teach classes at very advanced levels and use methods that provoke understanding, thought and debate. Instructor selection is based upon a combination of traits which include professional qualifications, sincere warmth, passion and ingenuity.
Academy courses are taught by a variety of licensed secondary instructors and University professors using a range of methodologies. The University professors who teach courses hosted by the Academy receive instruction in working with profoundly gifted students. The Academy faculty looks to students for inspiration regarding course content, instructional methods, materials, and the overall evolution of the school.
Along with these secondary and post-secondary instructors the Academy also supports the contributions of qualified mentors and other forms of independent study may be recognized within the students’ personalized learning plans (PLPs).
Academy student schedules are designed to allow for one-on-one, student instructor interactions to enhance writing instruction, provide tutoring, and deepen the challenge of classroom experiences.
English and History teacher Erin Vienneau discusses her experiences teaching at the Academy in this interview with Laura Vanderkam for the Gifted Exchange Blog.