Michael Weingarth founded Pillars of Learning in 2009 to answer a very simple question:
“Why can’t standardized tests accurately predict the difference between difficulty and complexity from a student’s perspective?”
As he grew more experienced in the classroom, what he began to see was breakdowns between functional compensation patterns and too much rigor or environmental stress: “Why can’t I predict what a student will find difficult more precisely and why can’t I predict when and how they’ll succeed?”
At the time, these questions led him to exhaustive research that bore little to no fruit until six years later. After digging into the intersection of cognition, perception, affective neuroscience, and neuropsychology for years, Michael developed a proprietary framework to examine compensatory patterns of cognition. Knitted together from far too many textbooks, case-studies, science/education journals, and various best-sellers, this new way of connecting student error patterns led to dramatic increases in student test prep averages and academic performance in 2015. Ever since, he’s been refining and adding to that complex web of ideas, evolving in an attempt to keep pace with the humbling speed of adaptation we see in every student.
The company’s roots are in working with high achieving students with recently diagnosed or as-yet-undiagnosed learning issues as well as students with low self-confidence or profound test anxiety. Michael found the work with those populations engaging, and to better serve them, Michael and his first group of tutors had to become quickly conversant with cognition, memory, processing, trauma, race and gender bias, their own implicit biases, and basic cognitive behavioral therapy techniques used to help shift procrastination and avoidance. Ever since, the company maintains a high degree of investment in staffing tutors who are driven and eager to expand their knowledge base. We hire tutors not just to teach content, but to understand how a student’s learning environment provides support and/or friction, and to work with what is present, rather the superimpose ideas and concepts from prescriptive pedagogy.
In 11 years, we’ve come a long way. Learn more about our journey to deeply understand learning difference.
Picture taken 2015. All Rights Reserved, Pillars of Learning 2020