When we started Bridge, we were trying to crack a model where we teach students to grow to great levels of competence in the least time possible, which is why it’s called the Student Accelerator Program. We’re able to do this because we’ve figured out how to build a model in their head of what they’re learning, very effectively. When all the dots are connected and all of it has been acquired by doing the work, it lasts longer.
The other important part of learning, that isn’t even discussed today, is that students perform a lot better when someone cares about their journey and the outcomes.
There were about 2-3 teachers in my lifetime who spent about all of 20 mins with me in the staff room trying to help me grow, which has made a tremendous difference in where I am today. I’m sure, wherever you have teachers who are emotionally invested in students’ success, you’d see a lot more students performing better. It’s just human psychology.
So what we’re trying to do at Bridge, is to care a lot of about every single student and help them fix a lot their problems. We conduct regular one-on-ones with all students irrespective of whether they think they have problems or not. Sometimes, students cannot learn something not because they don’t get it, or that they have knowledge gaps etc, but simply because they have other things they’re bothered about. Things in family, messy time management, lack of self-esteem etc.. We’ve to make sure we address this before we can expect students to go out and succeed with our content.
So today, a large part of education is content delivery. You create content and then you sell it either online or through teachers in educational institutions. What we need, is student care. We need to genuinely be part of their journey, because if we do that, students are smart and driven enough to learn the content on their own. You don’t need to find a new way of delivering it.
Now the challenge with this, as common sense suggests is that you cannot obviously scale this. Which to large extent is true today. But what is true today, doesn’t have to be true tomorrow. The way we can do this is by having full-time roles with people who both teach & counsel students at large. Part of their job is to care about students and help them succeed. Many conventional institutions have teachers who care a lot and have been doing it with great love. We just need to create a platform that is sustainable, both financially and otherwise, that attracts great potential educators who otherwise would have taken regular jobs because of lack of pay in institutions or because of bureaucracy. And for the time being, we can do this by staying out of the conventional system.
Bridge is our tiny attempt to make this happen. It’s a beginning. There are other things that we care deeply about and are integral parts to student success, which I’ll try to discuss in detail in the weeks to come.