One of the most frequent things I get asked is this:
“How is your programme (Swords & Stationery) different from tuition services outside?”
I tell parents that S&S is not a traditional tuition service when they ask about “tuition services”. Instead it is “educational therapy”, or "specialist tuition". But exactly what is it that I do, and what makes the programme different—unique even—to other educational services out there?
1) Specific learning difference-friendly
Although my students call me “Teacher Shaun", the "Teacher" has an added context.
What is this context?
The 60+ cases which I’ve taught had different needs across the board, despite some common threads. For instance, one may have more severe dyslexia, while another may have more severe ADHD. As such, worksheets may differ from student to student, even within the same class.
This is because I emphasise on my students’ learning needs as much as their academic grades. The programme works towards boosting students' grades while patching their learning deficits at the same time.
2) Empircally proven practices and techniques
The Swords & Stationery approach combines practices from multiple sources. These include:
- Orton-Gillingham intervention
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy elements
- Play Therapy elements
- Academic techniques and frameworks, such as Dr Derewianka's Process-Genre Approach
By using all of these elements in the classroom, I can target students’ weaknesses and rectify them, allowing me to maximise their learning abilities. This is one of the main differences between the S&S educational therapy programme and traditional tuition.
3) Learning made fun
Finally, what sets Swords & Stationery apart from every single learning institution in the world is its use of games as therapy and academic learning. While games allow me to target students’ socio-emotional needs, they’re also a platform to teach.
For example, I can use games to help students appreciate other fictional genres. I can also use fictitious scenarios to teach social skills (”You meet your contact at a bar, but you get the feeling of being watched").
Above all, I can use games for academic purposes. I can use a role-playing game to demonstrate politics, or teach reading comprehension. Games allow me to put students in fictional situations which model real-world counterparts.
In other words, learning is made fun.
Not only is this far less tedious than just listening to the teacher drone away, it also adds drama and tension. A good game can keep students at the edge of their seats. At the end of such a lesson, students usually come out feeling like they’ve been through a roller-coaster ride, all while feeling smarter, knowing they’ve learned something of value.
I don’t say this enough, but I have only the deepest respect for my fellow educators. The world is a better place when kids and youths are molded to become morally upright intellectuals.
This is why Swords & Stationery exists. We complement existing educational and enrichment services out there, rather than being a direct competitor. The programme was designed for young people with specific learning difficulties, as well as an audience where traditional methods of teaching don’t work as effectively. Many of our students have benefited greatly from it.
Keen to find out more about our services? Drop us a message. Consultation is free!
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Wheelhouse Workshop: A group in Seattle that uses games as therapy. They were one of the original inspirations for the S&S approach.
Tabletop Role-Playing Games In Singapore—Case Studies For Education And Empowerment: This MA thesis by Tan Shao Han, game master-extraordinaire and the mastermind behind Curious Chimeras, deeply inspired me to develop many of the initial ideas for the S&S approach. It’s a good read on how gaming can empower an individual to maximise his/her potential.
Why Dungeons & Dragons is Good for You (In Real Life): a TEDx talk by Ethan Gilsdorf, author of Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks, on why Dungeons & Dragons is good for the mind.