FAQs - Pear Tree EducationPear Tree Education
Pear Tree Education

FAQs

  1. Who teaches the classes at Pear Tree Education?
  2. How many students are in a class?
  3. What can I expect my child to learn?
  4. If the classes are student-centred, what does the teacher do?
  5. What role does technology have in the class?
  6. Do you provide technology (i.e. laptops) for the students?
  7. What if my child doesn’t own any technology?
  8. When can my child attend classes?
  9. Can my child attend more classes than these?
  10. Is there a cut off date for enrolment?
  11. What if my child decides to drop out?
  12. Is there a registration or entrance fee?
  13. What is the difference between the weekly workshops and regular classes?
  14. Will my children get better grades?
  15. Do you have tests?
  16. Do my children need to bring anything to class, i.e. textbooks?
  17. Why do the animated Pear Tree Education characters have Facebook accounts?
  18. How do you link Arts and Science in one class?
  19. Why do you try to link together Arts and Science subjects?
  20. If my child studies about ‘Lifecycles’, why would you need to incorporate Arts skills?

1. Who teaches the classes at Pear Tree Education?

B.C. certified teachers who have experience teaching in Vancouver schools, with either postgraduate degrees or majors in 2 different areas of study.

2. How many students are in a class?

Between 14 and 16 students. This is about half of the average school classroom, but more than a typical after-school class. We are putting the emphasis of our classes on student-centred, collaborative group learning.

3. What can I expect my child to learn?

Everything that young people really need to learn through education. This includes a deep understanding of subjects areas, how to work with others productively, how to use technology effectively, how to research, how to develop creative ideas to produce meaningful results, how to present ideas, how to speak in public, how to link knowledge from different subjects areas, how apply learning to real life, and much more!

4. If the classes are student-centred, what does the teacher do?

The teacher acts as a mentor for the students. Depending on the age of the students, they play more of a role in the classroom. The idea is for the teacher to help students become self sufficient and very confident, but at the same time to push them beyond their normal capacity.

5. What role does technology have in the class?

Technology is a method for both the students and the teachers to study. Students will use technology to research, brainstorm, collaboration, work, design, present, and so on. As such, they will be using technology for a real purpose, rather than just using a gadget for the sake of it… as many of us end up doing!

6. Do you provide technology (i.e. laptops) for the students?

Pear Tree Education does have a limited number of iPads for student use. However, we strongly recommend students to bring to class the portable technology that they own and use on a daily basis, i.e. iPads, laptops, Smartphones, etc. We want the students to learn to use what they own to do something productive, or even to realize that such technology isn’t quite as useful or fully developed as people make it out to be. This will give our students some proper understanding of what is worth buying and what is just a passing fad.

7. What if my child doesn’t own any technology?

No problems. If an iPad is available, they will be able to borrow one of these. Otherwise, they can either share someone else’s technology or work without such technology. Our learning centre isn’t just about technology! We spend just as much time learning to work without technology using drawings and paper skills, especially when we need to improvise.

8. When can my child attend classes?

Either Mondays/Wednesdays or Tuesdays/Thursdays. We also have additional weekly workshops on Fridays and K-12 educational field trips on Saturdays, which are optional and cost extra. This is all displayed on our Events Calendar.

9. Can my child attend more classes than these?

While it is certainly possible, we wouldn’t recommend this. The idea is for children to have a broad spectrum of skills and interests that I would hope go beyond Pear Tree Education to make them even more well rounded individuals. Nevertheless, our field trips are fun and educational.

10. Is there a cut off date for enrolment?

No. You can enrol at any time.

11. What if my child decides to drop out?

No problems. There is a minimum period of 1 month of classes – any less would not show results. Furthermore, if you have paid for 3 months at the special $220 rate, your reduced study period would be charged at the normal rate of $260 per month. The rest would be refunded with no hidden admin charges or such like. In other words, $400 would be refunded from a $660 payment for 3 months if you drop out after 1 month.

12. Is there a registration or entrance fee?

No. There are no hidden fees.

13. What is the difference between the weekly workshops and regular classes?

The weekly workshops are designed to focus on specific skills or classes related to what is covered in the normal classes. The idea is to give children a more indepth focus of specific aspects of what is covered in the classes. Examples include public speaking, scientific experiments, animation, drawing, etc. They are lead either by expert teachers in the school or by external experts. While the classes may encompass aspects of Education 3.0 (i.e. they are still very much hands on and collaborative), they are not geared towards them. This only happens during our regular classes. In fact, our external experts will know little if anything about our teaching methodology.

14. Will my children get better grades?

If the schools are testing for a deep understanding (including the use of critical thinking), then they should indeed get better grades. The B.C. Ministry has announced that they plan to introduce a system of education similar to Pear Tree’s within 18 months. However, it is likely to take much longer to spread across all schools in the Lower Mainland. Nevertheless, Pear Tree students will find that they have a great advantage over other students from having already had years of 21st century educational preparation at our learning centre.

15. Do you have tests?

No, because intelligence does not stem down to a test score. Instead, every project the groups work on is a form of personal test. Each child is assessed independently by the teacher and is constantly pushed to their own next level of development.

16. Do my children need to bring anything to class, i.e. textbooks?

We would encourage children to bring anything that they feel comfortable using, which includes technology, as well as pens and paper that they would normally use.

17. Why do the animated Pear Tree Education characters have Facebook accounts?

We do not approve of exploiting real children for commercial purposes. At the same time, we need a method to show children and parents what typical Pear Tree Students act like and think like. In other words, our characters are sort of like role models for your children. They can follow these characters and even participate in the discussions, just as they would with real life role models.

18. How do you link Arts and Science in one class?

Our classes are not subject based, but theme based. One theme encompasses many different subject areas. For example, in our class about Sustainability, subjects such as math, science, English and social studies would all be addressed. This is how real life is too! Each class alternates between studying with two different teachers a week. One teacher has more of a specialty in arts, while the other in sciences. The reason we do this is that education, especially post-secondary education, forces people to specialize in one or the other. There are very few teachers that are able to teach both arts and science subjects at an expert level – even if they are capable of doing so – because the teaching system doesn’t permit this. At Pear Tree, we aim for our students to be well-versed in both arts and sciences. Therefore, we think it’s necessary that students are exposed to both types of teachers. Nevertheless, all students are expected to blend the arts and sciences to form a complete system of knowledge.

19. Why do you try to link together Arts and Science subjects?

In people’s every day work and life, there is no clear distinction between a ‘geography moment’ or a ‘biology moment’. Instead, there is a blur where all of the things we learn converge into human knowledge. Schools expect students to do this automatically, yet conversely split knowledge into separate areas, which is completely artificial. In fact, in many industries, the sciences are becoming extremely complex, and overlap chemistry, physics, biology, technology and more into one field of expertise. Add to this the need to understand business, which includes social sciences and language arts, and you have a need for well-rounded educations. Business leaders and educators agree that students need both specialised and well-rounded knowledge. Pear Tree aims to bring out the strengths (specialisms) that young people possess, while simultaneously pushing them to think about the connections and broader picture that their knowledge involves.

20. If my child studies about ‘Lifecycles’, why would you need to incorporate Arts skills?

As with any form of knowledge, there is always an overlap between science and art. In this case, you could use fine arts to provide a graphical representation of scientific observations. Language arts are used to discuss such matters fluently and clearly. Social sciences are necessary to discuss the regional and cultural significance of these lifecycles. In other words, not every country is concerned about the lifecycle of bears; it’s very much a culturally specific topic. Therefore, it would be overly simplistic to ignore the effect to the cultural region or its inhabitants.

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