Over the past months, HHCA administrators and faculty have been working diligently to develop a systematic curricular approach intended to enhance the propensity for original critical thought and analysis in students. Through various iterations and bouts of trial and error, HHCA is pleased to announce the adoption of the “RADAR”approach. An acronym designed to provide students with a methodology to address, synthesize, and solve academic challenges, RADAR’s efficacy resides in its representative simplicity:
R - Read and Write the Problem, A - Analyze the Data, D - Diagnose, A - Assess/Act, R - Reflect.
RADAR was developed by Mathematics Department Head John Abbott, who sought a new manner of instruction to inspire students when faced with perplexing word problems in his Freshman Geometry classes. He found that when students could recognize and appreciate the process of solving the problem and not entirely focus on the numerical answer, their confidence and aptitude grew exponentially. Mr. Abbott said, “I really wanted a measurable system that students could apply and utilize, meaning they could take pride in realizing that ‘Yes, I can actually do this!’To me, that has been one of the more rewarding aspects of our employment of RADAR this year.”One of Mr. Abbott’s students, freshman Taylor Christie, was equally glowing in her impressions of RADAR, as she loved its clarity and applicability: “I feel like it has helped me to become a stronger student in math and once I had it in my mind, I felt like I could solve pretty much any problem that came my way.”
In fact, HHCA administration was so positively overwhelmed by the plethora of positive responses from the Mathematics side of RADAR that they decided to implement it across the board. A glance at the meaning of each letter in RADAR conveys its inherent correlation to the other disciplines, most notably to Science and the Humanities. English Teacher Ben Gerdts lauded the system’s treatment of the writing process as he reflected, “RADAR is perfect for our students, as it fashions a general template for thinking that is as applicable to defending a thesis as it is to solving a math problem.” What comes from RADAR has yet to be determined, but it will surely be a valuable tool for students in any class or discipline to employ in order to find success throughout upper school and beyond.