This week we interviewed Program Director Paul Lee, who has worked in education for 15 years and at MEK Review for 13 years. Mr. Lee is not only our Program Director, but he is also a student favorite for MEK’s SAT Subject Tests and AP science and math courses. He shared three lessons with us that will make your child academically successful.
Lesson Number 1: Nobody knows everything
“Students in higher level courses tend to try and cover up their mistakes or pass off an error as carelessness rather than admit that there is a concept they don’t fully understand or a skill they haven’t mastered,” states Paul Lee. They might be used to grasping new ideas quickly and acing homework and quizzes. However, when they come across unfamiliar and difficult concepts, often they are embarrassed to admit they need help or that they don’t understand right away. “Nobody knows everything,” Mr. Lee declares, “but if a student can open themselves up to the idea of asking for help, then they will more quickly conquer the subject and be much more successful.”
Lesson Number 2: Notes are crucial
“Often when I am teaching students chemistry and geometry, they are being introduced to brand new concepts. So there is a very large jump in the volume of learning they have to master. The amount of work can quickly overwhelm students, unless they learn how to successfully take notes,” Mr. Lee advises. At MEK we don’t just have students takes notes; we also teach them how to take notes. Basically, we teach them new and more effective study habits. As Paul Lee describes, “Students usually aren’t prepared for how to properly take notes. I really stress extensive and effective note taking, so their notes can actually help them solve problems later on.”
Lesson Number 3: Don’t just learn the information, learn how to use the information
“We want our students to gain confidence in processing large amounts of information. We want them to improve their problem-solving skills and procedural fluency. So it is very important that students don’t just learn how to recall facts. They need to be able to identify the connection between different types of facts,” says Mr. Lee. In other words, a student who only memorizes facts will never understand the subject matter on a deeper level. This will prevent them from correctly solving more complex questions. As Mr. Lee puts it, “When tackling difficult problems, I want a student to have a strategy in place. They should know a set of questions to ask and steps to follow, so that they can solve the problem.”