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Learner Centered - Young People and Facilitatoras

Ikigai: Catalyst Innovation Institute programs are  “homes” for young people and adults to find “their people”, and do important work while building towards IKIGAI, a Japanese concept that means "reason for being". Ikigai happens at the intersection of what one loves to do, what one is good at, what the world needs and what one could make a living doing. Families who choose a Catalyst school or program believe that the key to achieving IKIGAI lies in creating opportunities for young people to explore, experiment and develop something that they are passionate about.  We know from our vast experience and research, that this type of learning requires flexible scheduling, innovative tools and a willingness to co-design with the students.

Agency: We look to psychologists - Edward Deci and Richard Ryan and their Self Determination Theory (SDT) to create opportunities for Learners to grow their sense of agency, competence and relatedness. Weekly meetings with coaches focus on the following questions: 

  • What do you want to be competent in? 

  • What do you want to be in charge of? 

  • What steps will you take to get there? 

  • What worked? What didn't? What will you change? 

Coaches work with Learners to create "just right" challenges to create "states of flow" (Stixrud & Johnson, 2018). where Learners are so engaged in the process, they lose track of time. Catalyst's schedule allows for extended periods of flow so as to not interrupt this important process. 


Metacognition: Learners at Catalyst, use reflection, critique, presentation and documentation to learn about themselves as self driven​learners, effective communicators and change makers. Research shows that intrinsic motivation comes with having control. Coaches at Catalyst work with Learner's to develop confidence through making informed decisions which put the Learners in the drivers' seat of their own learning and creates internal drive. 

We use Carol Dweck's research in growth mindset to encourage Learner's to see challenges as something they are working on and are capable of reaching if they choose to do so. Autonomy creates opportunity for choice and with choice comes independent motivation. 

Competency and Mastery:  When Learners have a clear understanding of the goals of their learning, they can focus on mastering skills rather than the grades that they would receive. We use standards competency based assessments that encourage taking risks, failing forward, making course corrections and relevant learning. 


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