Brainboost helps struggling students uncover hidden potential for learning

Ben, learning at Brainboost

For Ben, school never quite fit. Grade 8 was a huge challenge. His mother, Beth, remembers that her son was always "bright" and "capable," but that educators overlooked his talents. 

"All the high school teachers saw was his learning challenges," she remembers. "He was the kid with the ‘designation,’ and the gifted part of him was ignored.”

Ben was frustrated and overwhelmed at school. “There wasn’t any support whatsoever," he said. "I’m gifted and learning disabled. My output is severely hindered so I don’t do school as fast as other kids, but I can do it well. My school wasn’t supporting that.”

Beth heard about BrainBoost Education when speaking with a psychologist during a psychological-educational assessment. The psychologist suggested that BrainBoost might be able to create a program that could help Ben improve his output, while nurturing his wise and intelligent sensibility.

He registered in a philosophy class at BrainBoost because “it wasn’t that he needed support academically, he needed to be jazzed up. He was bored.” 

Although philosophy filled some of the void, Grade 9 brought increasing challenges. Beth could see that school was taking every ounce of energy her son had, just to get through each day. To navigate the people, assignments, and expectations -- by 3 p.m., he was done. And because of that, he became depressed.

Over the course of year, school got worse, and Ben's depression deepened.

“It took over and influenced everything that he did, including his learning. He associated learning with negativity and poor outcomes," she said. "I phoned BrainBoost ... at that point, we were thinking of doing one day in high-school and one day at BrainBoost, but BrainBoost said he should be there full-time."

"In the meeting at BrainBoost, he saw an alternative that looked hopeful for him. I could see that in him. He thought ‘there’s something else I could do that I might like. Not just to be someplace but to engage in something.’ I thought: ‘OK, we’re coming.’”

September 8, 2010, was Ben’s first day at Brainboost, and he hasn’t looked back since.

Awakening a student's talent

Ben found BrainBoost very different from previous schooling experiences. He began his work with one of BC’s 55 online schools. His curriculum has been customized to his interests and leads towards graduation. At BrainBoost, Ben took classes in evolution and politics that pushed him to output  -- but at his own pace. His Hub Pass gave him access to a personalized education plan, and on the spot support with organization, studying, and content problems.

Once he stated Brainboost, the results were dramatic.

“I drastically improved my writing, because I had victories to get self-confidence from, and I had the time and direction I needed," he said. "I can talk it out with a tutor and get structure and direction I can take back to my own work. The support is personalized. With the HubPass you’re working on your own, but the tutors walk around and help each person individually.”

His mom sees the change in her son too.

“The success last year is that Ben got through Grade 10 with less academic support from me, and he really did it on his own steam. He learned if he puts some jazz music on, and gets a quiet room, he can get through anything. The enriched work was what made it work. It opened his mind up, and let him do what it was meant to do -- think huge thoughts.”

And it’s not just academics. As he prepares for school, Ben is looking forward to revisiting the connections he’s made at BrainBoost.

“It’s much smaller, so you can have actual interactions rather than just hellos in the hall,” he said.

Beth, too, is happy to see Ben more confident about learning than she's ever seen him.

 “This is the first year he hasn’t been anxious to go back to school in his entire school life. Ever," she said with relief. "No August anxiety.”

Article by Matt G.

BrainBoost is a full-service educational company operating on West Broadway near Macdonald. They offer one-on-one tutoring; small-group classes; and a membership-only study space.

Learn more at www.brainboosteducation.com.

More in Education

A young Iranian helps Syrian refugees adjust to Canada

A young Iranian, himself, new to Canada reaches out to help Syrian refugees settle here. But with the war in Syria, tensions between Iranians and Syrians are rising. How will he succeed?
Glynnis Kirchmeier filed a human rights complaints against UBC

UBC alumna files human rights complaint over response to sex assault reports

VANCOUVER — A former University of British Columbia student has filed a human rights complaint alleging the school discriminated against her and other complainants in its handling of sexual assault...
Arvind Gupta, former president of UBC

UBC faculty vote no confidence in board over handling of president's resignation

VANCOUVER — The University of British Columbia's faculty association has passed a resolution of non-confidence in the institution's board of governors amid ongoing turmoil prompted by the abrupt...
Speak up about this article on Facebook or Twitter. Do this by liking Vancouver Observer on Facebook or following us @Vanobserver on Twitter. We'd love to hear from you.