FAQ: The YES Method

What do instructors do in a YES session?

YES sessions are nontraditional. The goal of YES is to encourage our students to become curious learners and courageous thinkers. Instructors use a variety of materials, from algebra to poetry, to demonstrate how to organize thoughts and observations. Each instructor develops a distinctive teaching method and set of materials to accomplish this goal.


What is YES looking for in a candidate?

YES candidates must demonstrate intellectual curiosity, courage, verbal acuity, resilience, and emotional maturity. These are the factors that contribute to a student’s success in middle school and beyond.


What does a session look like?

YES sessions are typically led by one YES instructor during school hours and conducted in small groups of one to four scholars.  Scholars are required to verbalize their observations about class materials and engage in the kind of focused discussions that would be unfeasible in their conventional classrooms.

Why does YES work with students during the school day?

YES is not an after-school program because students are most focused and attentive to the intellectual challenges demanded by our sessions during regular school hours.

What does YES teach?

Sessions for sixth grade students begin with an examination of language as a tool for observing, storing, and retrieving information. This is initiated through the introduction of mathematics as a language. YES instructors guide students through a critical analysis of word problems sourced from ISEE and SAT test-prep manuals. As students progress, instructors incorporate content from physics, geometry, statistics, finance, and literature. Students are also guided through a series of exercises that increase their ability to apply logic and inferential thinking to a variety of disciplines.

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Why is language such an important part of sessions?

Students can achieve clear, precise, and retrievable thoughts only through using a rich vocabulary. Only when students are forced to verbalize their thoughts do they become aware of how difficult and how important it is to be clear and precise in thinking.


How does the YES method work?

YES sessions demonstrate the essential skills that enable students to “teach themselves” and take responsibility for their learning. Though essential to the process, YES instructors restrict their role to illuminating the learning process rather than delivering a particular set of curriculum contents. Through algebra word problems, challenging texts, and other above-grade material, students are encouraged to take an active, creative, and thoughtful approach to information and are discouraged from relying on passively memorizing facts and rote methods.