King's View Academy provides effective educational experiences for its students.
Our teacher-student ratio is exactly one-on-one, but that's not the whole story.
In a traditional classroom model, students experience instruction as a class. Students receive instruction on the same topic at the same time. This allows for the delivery of content, initiated and completely covered by the teacher, to an entire class of students at the same time. This makes the classroom, teacher-centered model of education effective in showing the students what they should be learning.
At the same time, students rarely have to decide how fast they should be learning, what topic they should work on "today", what topic they should work on tomorrow, or when they are ready for assessment - it is always decided for them by the classroom teacher. The two most notable deficiencies in this system are that:
1. students do not need to develop the ability to find and understand expectations put on them, or set their own goals and track their own progress to success, and
2. students rarely have input on the type or timing of assessment.
The second point, having very little or no input on the type of timing of assessment, is a significant cause of anxiety in many, many student of this approach to education.
Many students discuss the ratio of teachers to students in class. Public school tend to be 1 teacher to 25-30 students. Private schools tend to have a smaller range, depending on grade, somewhere around 1 teacher to 10-20 students. KVA is 1 teacher (Content Expert) to 1 student. But this is a misleading figure...
Normally this ratio exists for 1 class per day, which run between 60 and 75 minutes per class. Additionally, the one-on-one experience between teachers and students is very different than the one-on-twenty experience of a classroom. So although the KVA ratio is at the limit of small, we are comparing apples to oranges.
KVA's "Teacher" - Student Relationship
One significant difference between the classroom model and KVA's model is the quality of the interaction between students and Content Experts (KVA calls Content Experts what other institutions call Teachers). All interactions are one-on-one. Students ask questions of the Content Experts one-on-one. Content Experts provide guidance and motivation one-on-one. Discussing expectations, creating goals and planning to maintain the optimum progress to reach those goals happens one-on-one.
In terms of teacher-student ratios, the main difference between KVA and other institutions is KVA expects students to learn using resources, rather than from direct classroom instruction. In other words, when a student faces learning a new topic, KVA students are encouraged to start with checking the outcome document for exactly what is expected, to set a goal relating the content to the student's overall schedule, Googling definitions and background information, reading relevant sections of textbooks, watching YouTube or Khan Academy videos on the topic, and asking their subject Content Expert(s) any questions ("where do I start?" "what does this mean?" "am I on the right track"...)
This approach allows students to be responsible for their own learning. Teachers are no longer the center of, and reason for learning - at KVA teachers are another resource, and support for students becoming: better at understanding expectations; more self-directed; better goal setters; more organized; and better learners.
In the end, in a school like KVA with an enrollment cap of 30 students, each student has at least 1 hours of one-on-one time with each Content Expert per week (35 hours per week, 30 students...). For courses in which less students are enrolled, content experts will still be available at least 1 hour per week for each student.
The result is the necessity of students to work and learn independently (in groups or by oneself.) A student who attends KVA full-time, taking 6 courses, should expect 6 hours of one-on-one time weekly with teachers, and the other 25-30 hours per week is spent engaged in academics (including reading, writing, research, viewing and listening to videos and recordings, becoming organized, tracking progress, ...) in addition to periodic breaks from academics. Breaks are healthy, but learning takes engagement and time and thus requires the lion's share of weekly time.
Learning vs. Instruction
Lastly, learning is different than instruction. Instruction is another educative experience, like watching an instructional video, or viewing worked examples. Learning is a process that starts with experience and currently knowledge, and ends with expanded knowledge. Students can learn during instruction, or they may not learn during instruction: the two are not synonymous.