Community Education – "Buy-In: The Value of Owning How We Learn"

We had the pleasure of hosting a pair of interactive presentations at the Lower School on Tuesday, Oct. 18. Dr. Kelly M. Christian, Director of the Ethan D. Schafer Center at Lawrence School, presented "Buy-In: The Value of Owning How We Learn" to a diverse group of 38 professionals in the morning, followed by 28 enthusiastic parents and community members.

Dr. Christian's first session can be viewed below. We apologize in advance for the harshness of the class bells sounding during the presentation!


For both audiences, Dr. Christian stressed the importance of developing self-efficacy in students and offered strategies for motivating students and children to find value in the interventions they may need to succeed. Dr. Christian also highlighted the importance of student buy-in by pointing out that only one in four students with learning differences inform post-secondary environments of their learning difference and needs. As a result, only 17 percent of young adults who need accommodations receive them in post-secondary education, compared to 94 percent in high school.

Dr. Christian shared that, while students may not enjoy every aspect of school, they are willing to put forth effort if they find it valuable and necessary to future success. Dr. Christian offered the following approaches in supporting student buy-in:

  1. Give the difficulty a name ("Dyslexia is a problem that intelligent people have with pulling apart words or sticky sounds" – Dr. Sally Shaywitz)
  2. Provide skill remediation
  3. Support intentional learning with deliberate strategies
  4. Maintain the long-view perspective (Allocate time to nurture strengths and interests, within and outside of school)

The outcomes of employing these strategies and obtaining student buy-in are huge. Students gain persistence and confidence to elect challenging learning tasks and attain personal goals. The presentations were made possible by the generosity of the Bicknell Fund.

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