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What If We Tried Something Really New to Reform the Schools?

January 28, 2011

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The U.S. spends more per pupil on education than any westernized country except Luxembourg, Switzerland, Norway and Iceland.

Yet our students fall near the bottom in math and science when compared to the students of other countries. Although class sizes are smaller and spending has increased 123% per pupil from 1971 to 2006, academic performance of 17 year olds in a national reading test has changed 0%. The U.S. ranked 21st of 30 developed nations in science literacy and 25th of 30 in math literacy in 2006. (Statistics from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development; National Center for Education Statistics)

Albert Einstein remarked that problems can never be solved with the same thinking that created the problem—so is it perhaps time for an approach to education that goes beyond conventional wisdom and traditional approaches? Clearly just throwing money at the problem is not creating the results we would all like to see.

One very different approach to the process of children’s learning is offered by Access Consciousness, an approach to increased awareness for children and adults that has been taught world wide by its founder, Gary Douglas, and other facilitators trained by him.

Douglas’ methods have been adopted by Access For Knowledge learning centers in Minnesota, New York, and Texas, and the stories of success verging on the miraculous at these centers abound.

Learning language, math, foreign languages, and science, as well as self-esteem and stress caused by academic challenges, respond extremely well to Douglas’ approach.

One young lady, Anna, came to Access trained educator Dean Larson for help with her Spanish and a couple of other subjects. Her grades were much lower than her ability, and she radiated hopelessness and self-recrimination. She would work at her endless homework late into the night, every night, and simply could not get ahead.

“I don’t know what’s wrong with me, I just can’t get it!” was her initial assessment of Spanish. Larson used some Access methods to clear the beliefs and attitudes surrounding her hopelessness and introduced the thought that she is an infinite being.

She responded enthusiastically to the idea that she might be this “super-being,” although it was apparent that she viewed it as wishful thinking. She did begin asking questions, like “What else is possible?” “What would it take for me to pass this test?” and she began to use the mantra: All of life comes to me with ease, joy and glory.

After just four hour-long sessions, which also included subjects other than Spanish, Anna came to tutoring looking like the “cat that got the cream.” She announced that she had not only passed her Spanish test, she had gotten a “B” on it and brought her average up to a “D”! By the end of the semester, her class grade had climbed to a B and her other classes, even those in which she was not being tutored, had also risen.

Christine DiDomenico, a teacher with 27 years’ experience who also runs an Access For Knowledge tutoring center in suburban New York, tutored students this summer who had failed the Regents’ standardized test in New York State. Her students are now passing—allowing them to graduate from high school.

Fortunately, it is not only trained educators who are getting dramatic results with children’s academic performance. Ordinary parents familiar with the Access methods can have dramatic results using the tools as well.

One of the most dramatic tools is a hands-on approach called “The Bars.” The Bars are easily learned by anyone, including children, in a relaxing one-day class offered by 250 facilitators worldwide. A session of bars takes about an hour, is deeply relaxing, and changes the electrical functioning of the brain to make it more effective.

Dean Larson, an educator with vast experience in schools and tutoring centers prior to incorporating the Access tools in his work, states, “Absolutely nothing is more effective in the learning of a language than ‘running the bars’ for a student.”

Far from being limited to remediation, Bars could actually accelerate students’ learning and even decrease the time required in the classroom, without diminishing achievement.

In fact, Larson continues, “if students could have their bars run daily there would be no need for 12 years of schooling, as each student would learn at a vastly accelerated rate.”

Parents have used the bars to create miracles, even when an hour is not available. One single mother heard at breakfast that her son, in a tony private school in Houston, had somehow forgotten to study for his geography test that morning. An impromptu 10-minute abbreviated bars session later, he aced the test and brought home an A in the class.

In addition to the Bars, Access Consciousness teaches an abundance of verbal tools that facilitate learning and school performance as well. One sixth-grader spent the weekend at an Access workshop, while her classmates spent the weekend cramming for a test of the capitals of Asia. The sixth grader who did not even have time to study got the highest grade in her class.

A ninth grader who was in special education classes started attending Access workshops. Using the tools she learned there, she created her own business tutoring other students—kids and adults alike. She is now in an honors program at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

While touching points on the head and some of the other tools of Access may appear unconventional, mightn’t that be a good thing? Isn’t it time to try some true innovation to improve the results we’re getting in the education of our most important resource, our children?

Facilitators of the bars and other Access classes can be found at www.accessconsciousness.com. Individual sessions, as well as classes

Bars classes are available world-wide.

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