“Why is Mt. Everest so hard to climb?”, I asked a friend of mine. And the response I got was an amused “Because the summit is too high, that’s why!”.
Here’s what I then told her. The real reason why the summit of Everest is a difficult goal is not the height of the summit itself, but the nature of the climb to the summit. The climb is steep and tricky, and low oxygen levels compound the difficulty:
“What do you mean?”, she asked.
“Well,” I said, “Imagine a gradual ramp starting from the base of Mt. Everest, spiraling around the mountain, and going all the way up to its top.”
“If such a ramp existed”, I asked, “then would getting to the summit be difficult?”.
A smile spread across my friend’s face. “If such a ramp existed, then even my 70-year-old mother could make it to the summit!”.
When we look at a champion in any field, we are looking at a metaphorical summit of Everest.
Magnus Carlsen is at the summit of chess Everest, for example. For a new chess player, climbing this Everest quickly is impossible, but if they were to somehow discover an Everest Ramp, then even the summit itself is achievable!
This idea is at the heart of everything we do at Cuemath. We believe that every child can get to the summit of Everest - a mastery of math or coding or whatever else they are learning - provided an Everest Ramp exists.
This means that if the curriculum difficulty starts off at exactly the child’s current level, and slopes up at exactly the rate the child is comfortable with, then there is no reason why the child will not be able to walk the ramp and ultimately get to the summit.
The way we create a personalized Everest Ramp for every student is pretty simple yet extremely powerful:
- We do a baseline test before the student starts any topic.
- If the student has any learning gaps, additional remedial material is assigned (the slope of the ramp is lowered).
- The student then goes through a 4-step mastery loop - learning, practice, assessment, and revision (this forms the main part of the ramp).
- If the student does well in any topic, additional advanced material is assigned (the slope of the ramp is increased).
- The student’s tutor may also assign additional remedial or advanced work, wherever the slope needs to be modified.
So, instead of unrealistically pressuring the student to climb to the summit, we trust the student’s potential, build a personalized Everest Ramp for them, and then encourage them to walk to the summit at a slope they are comfortable with.
In my 15+ years of teaching, I’ve experienced this simple idea enabling thousands of students - even those who were initially struggling - to get to the summit. And I’m sure that your child can get to the summit too. All they need is an Everest Ramp.
If you liked this, you might be interested in exploring Cuemath’s live online classes, where expert tutors teach math and coding using an adaptive Everest Ramp curriculum.
If this made sense, you might be interested in exploring Cuemath’s live online classes, where expert tutors teach math and coding using real-world contexts and activities.