Goals and Philosophy

THE JANUS SCHOOL PHILOSOPHY

Each student is different. Careful diagnosis that can assess the unique nature of each student’s learning style is critical to a successful educational program.

Each student’s program must be built around individual strengths and weaknesses. No single program can serve all students with learning difficulties. The focus must always be on the student – not on the materials or methods.

Students with average intellectual ability who have learning difficulties can master the skills they find most difficult.

Information processing and language skills are the key to success in education and in the future work place. These skills must be learned and not by-passed.

The cornerstone of learning is the highly developed human relationship between a teacher and student. This relationship allows the student to develop self confidence in the context of both academic and personal growth.

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Goal 1: Basic skill levels commensurate with potential,

or rate of learning predicts intercept with potential

within reasonable timeframe

Goal 2: Study skills

Goal 3: Social cognition/adaptive behavior skills

Goal 4: Tolerance for Frustration
Goal 5: Appropriate and effective self-advocacy
Goal 6: Self-awareness as a student and an individual
Goal 7: Motivation and intrinsic desire to learn

Goals of a Janus Education

Goal 1: Basic skill levels commensurate with potential, or rate of learning predicts intercept with potential within reasonable timeframe

Potential is assessed by analysis of broad and specific measures of intelligence, described by categorical models of neuropsychology, and informed by known limitations of application of intellectual capabilities. This assessment is not undergone rigidly and always takes personal circumstances into consideration. Skills are measured with standardized achievement tests, curriculum based assessments, anecdotal evidence, and evidence of performance consistency. Specific language and math skill measurements should no longer show significant deficits.

Goal 2: Study skills

A student with strong study skills is able to compensate for skill or knowledge deficits through:

  • organization of time (managing time and prioritizing tasks, multi-tasking, estimating time, scheduling time and remembering assignments, setting goals);
    organization of materials (using a master system for keeping things organized, effective use of study environment);
  • classroom skills (communicating in the classroom, understanding their learning style, customizing their learning, using references);
  • note taking (listening, paraphrasing, identifying main ideas, and summarizing);
    textbook skills (using or creating chapter outlines, previewing introductory paragraphs, previewing and using end of chapter vocabulary and questions, focusing on headings and subheadings, using or creating pictorial aids, using highlighted terms);
  • test preparation (creating and using study guides, getting feedback from teachers or peers, reducing ideas to key words, creating mnemonic devices, following directions, understanding the question, cue words, mastering varied test formats, essay writing);
  • critical thinking (making inferences, determining relevance, identifying problems and solutions, identifying patterns, seeing both parts and wholes).

Goal 3: Social cognition/adaptive behavior skills

Social cognition and adaptive behavior skills include, but are not limited to (Adapted from Educational Care, Levine):

  • interrogation skills, strong greeting skills;
  • performance consistency, focus, appropriate inhibitions, self-control;
  • accurate social predicting, appropriate presentation, reciprocity of behaviors, ability to verbalize feelings, inferencing other’s feelings, effective code switching, regulated humor, appropriate topic choice, regulated assertiveness, and comfort in social contexts.

Goal 4: Tolerance for frustration

A student with a tolerance for frustration will be able to identify the source of frustration and face the challenges with which they are faced. Tolerance for frustration will allow the students to keep going in spite of adversity, understand that difficulties are necessary for learning, and maintain emotional stability. Many students arrive at Janus with a high skill deficit and low tolerance for frustration. It is important for a student’s tolerance for frustration to be greater than (or at least as high as) his or her skill deficit.

Goal 5: Appropriate and effective self-advocacy

A student who advocates is able to ask for guidance when needed, is able to identify supportive individuals or seek support services, can articulate what are realistic high expectations for tasks, and maintains long term relationships with supportive individuals. A student with strong self-advocacy skills will make decisions for himself, actively engage in the world, and participate in making positive changes in his or her own life. This student will know that it is more practical to respond to his or her environment rather than to demand that it respond to them.

Goal 6: Self-awareness as a student and an individual

A self-aware student understands and can describe his or her strengths and weaknesses and patterns of behavior in a realistic manner. A self-aware student engages in the metacognitive act of reflecting on his or her own thinking and learning. He or she also accepts the learning difference and sees it as only one aspect of oneself rather than being defined entirely by it.

Goal 7: Motivation and intrinsic desire to learn

A student who is motivated and shows an intrinsic desire to learn will be curious about the world and actively participate in discovery. The motivated student does not achieve only to please others or to avoid punishment, but also to expand their own experience. A motivated student understands the meritocratic work-a-day world and its role in increasing the number of choices available to individuals and our control over those choices throughout the lifespan. This student will also understand the parity of success in various environments, such as work, school, and family.

“As parents of children with learning differences, Janus and it’s highly skilled and motivated staff has provided us with the support structure of help and hope rather than despair.”