The Kumon Method is an individualized method of learning tailored to each student's ability, so our students do not study in the conventional class format. With the Kumon Method, regardless of age or grade level, students independently study material that is "just-right" for their level of ability at any given time. We refer to this as "the 'just-right' level of study"—something that is difficult to achieve within the conventional class format.
For this reason, "self-study," or "self-learning" as we say at Kumon, forms the core of the Kumon Method. With "self-learning," when students encounter content that they don't understand or are unable to do, they cannot progress further. If we can clarify what it is that they are having difficulty with and provide ample practice in the necessary areas, then these students can advance while developing sound academic ability. Particularly for the development of the core intellectual skills of reading, writing and calculation, sufficient practice is essential. With the conventional class format, on the other hand, it is not unusual for students to have seemingly understood something through listening passively before moving on to the next level. However, when they actually try to do the relevant exercises it is plain to see that they are not able to do them at all.
At Kumon, we provide instruction for students that enables them to advance by "self-learning" using our worksheets, which are meticulously laid out into small steps. Of course, Kumon Instructors closely observe students as they study, and teach as appropriate. For example, when necessary, the Instructor teaches students carefully on sections where they are encountering new material for the first time. However, with the Kumon Method, students develop a sufficient level of academic ability before moving on to new sections, so there is very little need to teach. Indeed our Instructors take care not to teach students too much in order to avoid dampening their enthusiasm to learn.
A solid grounding in the basic skills of reading, writing and calculation, which forms the basis for all learning, endows students with strong intellectual skills that they can draw on freely to expand their knowledge. Once students understand how to do this, they are able to independently take on the challenge of inquiring into new areas that they want to learn more about. Students gain confidence in their ability to advance on their own accord without needing to be taught, their desire to advance further increases and they come to relish new challenges. This combination of confidence, hunger to learn and a love of new challenges gives students a strong sense of self-assurance that forms the basis for living an independent life.
This is something that we have clearly witnessed in the many students who have developed their potential through "self-learning" with the Kumon Method.