Do Ron Clark Academy’s unorthodox engagement methods work? Ask an outsider.
Bill McAllister said he brought a handful of teachers with him during his first visit to the school in 2008.
In the first class, Ron Clark was teaching math McAllister thought too advanced for the students learning it. Clark asked a question and focused on one student. After about five minutes, the girl admitted to not knowing the answer.
“I think every teacher in there figured he was being too hard on her,” said McAllister, superintendent at West Point Public Schools, a school district about an hour outside Omaha, Neb. “I thought she was never going to answer a question again. But two questions later, her hand was back up.”
Teachers there use music, hand signals, movement and more to engage students, saying it helps them to remember the lessons better.
McAllister has been back to the school more than a dozen times.
“I think most teachers do the best they can with what their knowledge is,” he said. “It’s amazing to see when people come back (from RCA) come to realize they can up their expectations of students.”