This site grew from years of watching school systems lower standards for under-achieving students. Noticing the many ah-hah moments in my students’ lives, I began to form methods that connected especially with those who took a bit longer to reach those moments. Through illustrations, color systems, visual and physical manipulatives, and any other method I could think of, I began explaining abstract and complex concepts in more concrete and simple terms. To my amazement, students who had practically given up on learning came alive in my classrooms and began to thrive. I’ve gathered friends and colleagues who share this passion for teaching those who struggle by meeting them in their present circumstances and helping them over the academic bar that seems too high to reach. In a very real sense, we are coaches, giving your children a boost to help them achieve.
I have a confession to make... The brainstorm for this website and especially the English instruction actually happened over twenty-five years ago when I took a 400-level Shakespeare course. I had been educated in a small Christian school at a time when little was known of learning disabilities and then went off to college not even knowing what a thesis statement was. I was majorly in over my head but proved a hard-working and tenacious learner. The learning, however, did not come easily. I now suspect that I have some pretty severe dyslexia that sheer stubbornness allowed me to work around. At any rate, I was drowning in this Shakespeare class and decided to go to the local library, not the university library, and sit in the children's section all day. I read every play Shakespeare ever wrote, but I read it for elementary students before reading the real thing. Then I began producing journal articles that my professor had assigned. Half way through the semester, she came to me and asked me to meet her for coffee to discuss Shakespeare's work because she had never seen anyone display so much clarity in analysis with Shakespeare's work. I could not bring myself to tell her what I had done, but we did meet for coffee, and she and the toughest English prof at my university became my best buddies. To this day, they do not know how I aced that Shakespeare course. That's the idea behind Over the Bar. No concept should be out of reach if we are truly excellent teachers determined to help our students from any ability level. So now you know my dirty little secret.
This story really sums up the idea behind Over the Bar Instruction INC. We’re not trying to become an elite academic standard of achievement. Our goal is to assist students who may feel the academic standards in front of them are insurmountable and help them achieve using the tools of color, image, and movement to bring abstract concepts into the concrete world for them. We’re not dumbing down or lowering the standard. Instead, we’re providing the boost they need to meet those standards and get over the academic bar.
Ruth Ann Frederick
Over the Bar Instruction INC
To equip struggling students to achieve academic standards that seem insurmountable without lowering the standards, by providing educational tools to meet diverse learning needs and modes.