Breakout Mentors focuses on providing personalized 1-on-1 programming mentoring for kids. We don’t do this because it is easy, but because it is the ideal way to make a significant and long-lasting impact on our student’s lives. In fact it is very hard – it would be much easier to run summer camps with scores of kids, simply skimming the surface of what computer programming is about.
We strive to provide a real depth in education that isn’t available anywhere else. The goal is to generate interest for years to come. Why do we feel so strongly that a 1-on-1 personalized education is important in accomplishing this?
The ability to move at each student’s own pace
It’s a blessing in disguise that programming is not taught in school with a series of classes like mathematics. Students that enjoy the subject are able to move at their own pace of learning, unhindered by other students. Some kids struggle with the logical thinking skills programming requires. Imagine a classroom of thirty 6th graders – the distribution of natural programming ability will be much wider than ability in social studies. Here is a visualization:
The tall curve is social studies – there are variations in student performance, but overall they are fairly tight. The flat curve is programming – there are huge variations. Unfortunately in a classroom setting it is difficult to teach to the entire spectrum. The teacher ends up (un)consciously adjusting the content so the majority of students are able to follow along. This greatly stunts the growth of young programmers at the upper end of potential. Making this worse, the students that are likely to enjoy programming fall in the top quartile of natural ability.
Breakout Mentors provides 1-on-1 programming mentoring without a rigid curriculum. Each student is able to move at their own pace, which has a tremendous benefit for the many gifted students we teach.
Computer programming is a unique subject that should be taught more like art than math. Teach skills, techniques, and concepts – but then encourage exploration. With large classes it is difficult to embrace this creativity and programming starts to resemble paint-by-numbers “art”.
Kids are naturally creative – this is obvious to anyone that has seen what kids can do with a couple of refrigerator boxes. But usually their engineering projects are limited to the materials on-hand. With computer engineering, anything is possible. There are not expensive parts to buy, pixels are free.
Any computer programming education that fails to take advantage of the potential for creativity is less than ideal. With our 1-on-1 mentoring we are able to encourage our student’s ideas and help bring them to life. There is nothing more powerful than seeing your unique ideas actually on the screen.
Computer programming is not an easy subject and is entirely optional in today’s school system. There are plenty of kids that are interested in computers and how they work, but with the wrong educational approach they might flounder. If a student is going to stay with the subject long enough to unlock the incredible benefits down the road, they have to stay interested. The goal of Breakout Mentors is to give these students the highest quality programming education available and keep interest high. If you would like to learn more, please contact us today.