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Oxford Learning Centre - an interview with Tom Hawks

Oxford School of LearningA franchised supplemental learning centre with a stellar 25 year history, the Oxford Learning Centre has a very simple mandate:  To make a difference in children’s lives by helping them learn how to learn.  A simple enough sounding mandate, but monumental to a child’s life and a useful tool in the evitable adolescent and adulthood stages of life-long education. 

There is a certain attitude towards academics that only a learning centre can provide a child.  Oxford, in particular, makes school – cool!  Self-esteem is viewed as a valuable attribute at Oxford.  By focusing more on developing the individual’s motivation and confidence in the skills learned, self-esteem is ingrained in the student.  With a low student to teacher ratio, a maximum of three students for every teacher, Oxford Learning Centre has the right recipe for success.

The teachers at Oxford are certified and have field experience in the public and separate school boards.  When they transfer to the Oxford system, they undergo further training.  In teachers’ college, aspiring teachers learn how to teach classes; at Oxford they learn how to teach the individual.  This prepares Oxford’s teachers to recognize what are a student’s challenges and how the mode of teaching may be tuned to better suit that student’s learning ability.  This allows for students that struggle with school to excel without becoming frustrated, and exceptional students to advance in an enrichment program warding off boredom.  “The sooner you address an issue, the faster and easier you can affect the issues to remediate the problem,” explains Tom Hawks, Director of both the Pickering and Ajax Oxford Learning Centres.

Mr. Hawks further expands on the ideals behind Oxford’s form of teaching by explaining that the students learn both academic skills as well as cognitive skills.  This is an important difference as cognitive skills are not always the focus in the classroom and are often overlooked by other tutors.  “Learning the ‘whys’ makes you wise,” states Mr. Hawks.  Based on this premise, students are taught strategies to tackle problems as well as good study skills and habits. 

The case of a child, who came to Oxford in grade 3, is a fine example of the type of success that can be achieved through this model of teaching and learning.  Mr. Hawks goes on to describe how Michael, a grade 3 student, was reading at a grade 1 level upon arrival at Oxford.  Time was taken to sit with him and discover what goals were most important.  Michael desperately wanted to read “chapter books”.  Seven months later, not only was he reading the aspired-to chapter books, Michael, now in grade 4, was reading at a grade 4 level. 
Michael is now in University and aspires to become a teacher.  Not only was Oxford able to assist him in the immediate challenge, they went on to prepare Michael for high school while at the same time instilling in him a will to learn. As the old adage goes:  The teacher becomes the student.  What better way is there to achieve life-long learning, than to teach?


Contact Oxford School of Learning


475 Westney Road North
Ajax, Ontario
L1T 3H4
Tel: 905-683-6660

1105 Finch Avenue
Pickering, Ontario
L1V 1J7
Tel: 905-420-3141




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