For all of you who are skeptical about starting at a point below your grade level in Pinecone, think about the difference in "kinda knowing something" and being so masterful that you can teach it. Being able to teach a concept not only means you know it thoroughly, but that you appreciate how difficult it is to learn these concepts and want to help others learn them as well as you did! It is an exciting feeling to reach this mastery and share it with others.

Here is a statement from the new 2010 CA standards for STEM courses (science, technology, engineering, mathematics): Among first-time community college students (enrolled for credit) in California who entered the system in Fall 2002, 41% took a course below college mathematics. These students began at widely varying levels: 23% began in Intermediate Algebra or Geometry, 34% began in Beginning Algebra, 21% began in Pre-Algebra, and 23% began in Arithmetic. (Source: EdSource)

This is a wake-up call for all... be patient, but do your daily work and please communicate with me through emails, phone calls and conference.

Teaching Strategies That Work

childIn the last month, on more than one occasion President Obama has expressed his deep and abiding concern about the direction American education is headed. He has repeatedly called upon American schools to link student achievement to the increasingly strident demands of the global economy. Future American prosperity would depend on how well its people are educated. In this 21st century where jobs could be shipped to any place on earth that has an internet connection, the President cautioned that American children would now have to compete with their counterparts in India and China. Education, he warned, was no longer a pathway to opportunity but had now translated into a prerequisite for success. Jobs in tomorrow's world would depend not on what one could do but on what one knew. Students would have to understand the complexity of an innovation-driven economy and adapt to its relentless demands. American students would have to become globally competent and able to compete with their peers in other countries, already investing heavily in educational skills. Their educators were studying the latest and best global education practices. One example he cited was languages, which would help reap economic returns as an addition to cultural and social ones. European and Australian children start a foreign language in the elementary grades. In comparison, only half of American high school students study a world language; most of them pursue it only as far as an introductory level; most opt for Spanish which does not help in a global economy. The future, the President opined, was going to be multicultural, multilingual, global and digitally connected.

As if anticipating the President's caution, several years ago Ms. Vivian Hobbs, a well known educationist in the Bay Area visited Europe on her own exploratory voyage. She sought to discover the best and latest teaching methodologies. In Italy she saw and was impressed by the Active Learning method of education and the results it obtained. On her return she adapted Active Learning as the medium of instruction in Pinecone, a tutorial center she founded in San Jose, CA. Active Learning is a generic term applied to various models of instruction that places the emphasis of learning on the students rather than the teacher. It has been found that students who actively interact with the subject understand it better and are more likely to recollect relevant information. To put it simply, having interacted dynamically with the subject the student has a better and deeper grasp of the contents. There are various group methodologies in active learning, but the Pinecone Learning Center, being a tutorial service adapts a one-on-one approach. This Bay Area Active Learning Center focuses on the key foundation subjects of Reading, Math and Comprehension.

In Math and Comprehension the students progress at a comfortable pace so that they have a firm grasp of the concepts and fundamentals, principles that they can comfortably apply as they advance. A similar approach is applied to Math where the student learns and hones calculation skills at a regulated pace to become fully proficient and master all the concepts. The effectiveness of the Active Learning method as practiced by the Pinecone tutorial service has more than proved itself. Ms. Hobbs's service to the community has been recognized with the award of 'Best Private Teacher'. Read more at To know more of her center and to contact it, log on to


"I've been meaning to tell you the that the new books are much better and more interesting. I can see better results with Nick. Thanks!"

Pinecone's Strategy

Pinecone's methodology is to run the two foundation programs of Math and Reading at a pace which allows the child to assimilate the subject matter and apply the new acquired skills to practical problem solving. The coaching is structured so that the child is able to reason for him/herself to achieve the highest level of comprehension. Regular practice and support instills self confidence and stimulates an eagerness to progress to the next level. Each student is groomed to anticipate and surmount hurdles consistent with present day education. The end result is a happy and confident child who is justifiably proud of his or her academic achievements.

For more details of this Bay Area teaching center and its unique, result-oriented teaching methodology please visit its website at Currently it offers some special discounts, details of which can be gotten by calling 408.270.4548.

About Vivian Hobbs

Ms. Hobbs is a qualified educator with an M.S. degree in Industrial Psychology and 30 years of experience in math and research design. Children's education and research into the best learning methods have always been at the forefront of her career.

Where can I learn more?

Pinecone Active Learning is on Facebook and can be followed on Twitter. For further information on enrollment and fee structure, please call 408.270.4548 or visit the center's website at

For more on its unique tutoring methodology, please click on

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