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Teacher Appreciation Week

by Erika Emerick on May 17, 2015

May 4th – 8th, 2015 is Teacher Appreciation Week. The Mawi Learning team took to the streets to learn how teachers are making an impact on students’ lives. Here is a short video of how YOU are inspiring YOUR students!

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Online Education for ELL Students

by Erika Emerick on May 17, 2015

Technology is quickly becoming an integral aspect of the classroom. Students are now able to use the internet and computers to enhance their education and engage with content and peers.

As an ELL student turned Harvard graduate, I have always been passionate about ELL education. That’s why we created Super ELL, a success course designed to increase the academic and life potential of ELL students. These students face unique challenges with culture and confidence. Yet, these students also have tremendous opportunities.

Technology is creating even more opportunity for ELLs. Software and web-based tools give students an integrated experience to develop their language acquisition and content knowledge. Teaching ELL students via technology helps them to acquire the necessary skill-sets for 21st century success, and allows educators to meet diverse and individual needs.

If you’re an ELL educator looking to incorporate technology into your classroom here are a couple of recommendations:

Understand different levels of experience

As an ELL educator, you know the importance of identifying gaps in knowledge. The gaps within technology may include vocabulary and previous exposure to software and hardware. There will be varying degrees in technology vocabulary understanding, for example, a student may understand that mouse means a four-legged rodent, but may not know that it is also a computer tool.

Similarly, students will have different technological backgrounds. Some have had years of practice with computers, but others you will need to spend additional time on the basics. If your students needs additional help, extend practice time with scrolling, dragging, clicking, or using a search engine.

Provide meaningful interaction with content

There is a plethora of resources available to use in the classroom to enhance ELL education and engage students. Many of these resources are great at language acquisition and content knowledge, but here at Mawi Learning, we are passionate about Social Emotional Learning. Other than use Super ELL in your classroom, educators can use additional technology resources to increase non-cognitive skills in students.

Some of our favorite resources include digital field trips and connecting students to other cultures. Digital field trips, like Inside the White House and NASA’s Eyes on the Solar System can provide an interactive experience in an area that a student shows interest in. Today there are many social networking sites to increase communication with their home culture and community, but sites like ePals connect students cross-culturally. These are experiential and authentic ways for students to absorb new information.

What other suggestions do you have for ELL educators to increase technology competence in the classroom? Please let us know in the comments!

Preview two lessons of Super ELL, a course created specifically for ELL success today!


Critical Thinking and Study Skills

by Erika Emerick on May 12, 2015

Mawi Learning is excited to introduce our new course, Critical Thinking and Study Skills! This course was designed to deepen student learning, raise grades and increase test scores.

Study Skills Avatar

Throughout the course, Mawi coaches students in 19 videos, where he shares how he went from a C/D students in 8th grade, to a scholarship to Harvard by his senior year of high school.

To create the course, we reviewed the best research available, as well as Mawi Learning’s own proprietary tools from our work with over 1,000,000 students. It can be taught online or in a blended format to students in grades 8 – 12.

Preview two lessons of the course today!


Mawi Honored as Youth Advocate of the Year

by Erika Emerick on April 21, 2015

Mawi Asgedom will receive the 2015 Advocate for Youth Award from SCOPE-Midwest. The Advocate for Youth Award is presented annually to an individual or organization that demonstrates a special commitment to improving the lives of children.

Since 1991, over 20,000 financially disadvantaged children, many from the Chicago area, have attended summer camp through SCOPE (Summer Camp Opportunities Promote Education) camp scholarships. The award ceremony is dedicated to raising funds for SCOPE’s summer camps scholarship program.

“We are thrilled to present Mawi with The Youth Advocate Award at this year’s SCOPE benefit. This award goes to an individual who demonstrates a special commitment to improving the lives of children. The work Mawi does with today’s youth and teens will help them become productive, successful, and happy adults. We are fortunate to have Mawi as an advocate for how important a camp experience is for all children regardless of their socioeconomic background,” says Dayna Hardin, President of CampGroup LLC.

The award will be presented at SCOPE-Midwest’s annual fundraising dinner on Friday, April 24th at Viper Alley in Lincolnshire, IL. Please visit to learn more and register for the event.


Mawi to Keynote at National Symposium for Refugees

by Erika Emerick on April 20, 2015

Mawi will keynote The National Partnership for Community Training National Symposium on April 27th. The Connecting Leaders, Impacting Communities and Sustaining Programs: Strengthening the National Torture Treatment Network Symposium features leading experts in the torture treatment and refugee fields who will share tools and techniques for creating robust programs and networks.

Mawi’s remarkable journey took him from a Sudanese refugee camp to a full scholarship at Harvard University and then to training over 1,000,000 youth in life-changing success skills at his own company, Mawi Learning. At the National Symposium, he will deliver an inspiring and uplifting message to refugee and torture victim professionals about the importance of their work.

The National Symposium takes place on April 27th and 28th, 2015 at the University of Miami Student Activities Center. Please visit for more information and to register for the event.


Super ELL Earns Finalist Honors at SIIA CODiE Awards

by Erika Emerick on April 14, 2015

We are very excited to announce that our Super ELL course is a finalist in the prestigious Software & Industry Association (SIIA) annual CODiE Awards. The CODiE Awards are the premier award for the software and information industries, and have been recognizing product excellence since 1986.

Super ELL is honored in the Best ELL/World Language Acquisition Instructional Solution category.

Preview a video lesson in the course!

98 percent of ELL students recommend Super ELL to other students, while 94 percent say the course helped them with their other classes. The lessons, which are accessible on computers and tablets, cover topics such as time management, goal-setting, community impact, social networking, college readiness and pride in one’s heritage. Students learn through interactive tools, videos and engaging examples.

Winners in the Education category are announced at the Education Information Summit on May 3rd, 2015. We look forward to updating you on the status of our award!


Amy+MartWelcome to part two of our exciting interview with Amy Mart, Manager of Universal Supports, in the Chicago Public School’s Office of Social and Emotional Learning.  Today, Amy and Mawi discuss the meaning of restorative justice and what it looks like in a school setting.  Drawing upon a growing research base, they explore how restorative justice can improve learning outcomes, build strong faculty/student relationships and redefine our vision and goals for student accountability.

Check out the resources Amy mentions at the International Institute for Restorative Practices, and the Illinois Balanced and Restorative Justice.


Amy+MartHow can Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) transform school culture and academic success? How do you introduce (SEL) to skeptical colleagues and friends?  What does it look like to build sustainable structures to support SEL?   Amy Mart is the Manager of Universal Supports for the Office of Social and Emotional Learning for Chicago Public Schools, a district with over 600+ schools and 400,000+ students.  In part one of this two part series, Mawi asks Amy to share her insight on how SEL can help students and schools succeed.  In part two, Amy will delve deeper into the concept and best practices of Restorative Practices.

Check out the research Amy cites in her interview at the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning.




Meb’s 90/10 Rule

by Mawi on August 4, 2014

Conference Interview - Meb

At my conference last week, 2014 Boston Marathon Winner Meb Keflezghi said something I’ll always remember:

“Before race day, it’s 90 percent physical and 10% mental; on race day, it’s 90% mental and 10% physical.”

If grit is a coin, Meb’s 90/10 rule covers both sides. One side of the coin is the steady, disciplined grit that is not flashy but provides a strong foundation. The other side is pure courage; grit at its most raw, as we push ourselves beyond our preparation to new heights.


SEL Word Cloud

After a decade of focusing primarily on testing, schools across North America are prioritizing Social and Emotional Learning (SEL). Researchers like Angela Duckworth and Carol Dweck have shown that grit, growth mindset, goal-setting, and other internal qualities drive student achievement and student well being.

There are two things that confuse many people regarding Social and Emotional Learning. First, we use a wide variety of terms to basically get at the same thing: character development, values education, non-cognitive skill building, and Social and Emotional Learning. Second, most of us do not have time to review all the research on SEL.

Here is a white paper that was released by the Educational Research Institute of America. The white paper takes a look at the six most research-based SEL principles, helps break down the nomenclature, and concludes by showing how Mawi Learning develops those principles in our Leadership Skills Class.


The Power of Perseverance through the eyes of an Olympian: Interview with Meb Keflezighi

March 20, 2014

Long-distance runner Meb Keflezighi came to the United States with his family when he was 12 years old after feeling to Italy as a refugee from war torn Eritrea.  Early on, Meb discovered a passion for running that would lead him to win a silver medal in the 2004 Olympics Marathon competition and win the […]

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Stop Talking About the Achievement Gap

November 26, 2013

The proverbial “Achievement Gap” describes the academic disparity between white and black/Hispanic students in our country.  I wonder sometimes: Has  the term “Achievement Gap”  gotten to the point where it is no longer useful, and might actually worsen the predicament it’s meant to fix? Talk of the Achievement Gap might be compared to talk of […]

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Differentiated Learning through Technology: Interview with David Vinca and Maya Lopuch

November 7, 2013

David Vinca is the Founder & CEO of eSpark Learning, which partners with schools to create a personalized learning plan for each student that utilizes iPads and hand-picked educational apps. Before eSpark, David spent four years teaching and four years as a management consultant. David has a BS from Pennsylvania State University and an MBA from […]

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Where is your Secret Ocean?

October 24, 2013

Several times in my career, I’ve talked with inner cities kids who live just a mile from an ocean or a Great Lake, but have never visited. I’m always stunned and saddened when I meet these students.  I think, “How could you be so close to something so amazing, and never go?” What if the […]

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The Unexpected Benefits of Music: Interview with Elizabeth Frascoia

September 17, 2013

Listen in as Elizabeth Frascoia shares some of the unexpected benefits engaging in music can have, and what this can mean for youth. Elizabeth Frascoia is a dedicated educator working in New York City and Los Angeles, committed to helping students of all ages gain greater confidence through music.  She has worked with over 10,000 […]

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Creating the Community We Desire: Interview with Allan Davenport

May 28, 2013

Allan is the Principal of Crone Middle School (Naperville, IL). Allan’s interview shares specific strategies for building a culture of success and respect in a middle school of 1,000 students.  You will also learn what he means when he says, “The Crone Way.”

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A Cultural Shift Reduces Bullying by 1/3: Interview with Elizabeth Carswell (Conference Sneak Peek!)

May 21, 2013

Meet Elizabeth Carswell, one of our keynoters for our upcoming Summer Conference. In this interview with Mawi, Elizabeth shares best practices from her work with 1,000 schools as the director of Core Essential Values, including the story of how one school reduced bullying by 33%. Hear more from Elizabeth at our Mawi Learning Summer Conference: The […]

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It’s a Lifestyle, Not a Program: Interview with Clayton Muhammad (Conference Sneak Peek!)

May 17, 2013

Meet Clayton Muhammad, one of our keynoters for our upcoming Summer Conference. In this interview with Mawi, Clayton shares how his city reduced homicides from 25 in 2003 to 0 in 2012. Clayton also describes how his innovative Boys II Men program achieves 100% graduation rates. Hear more from Clayton at our Mawi Learning Summer Conference: The Power […]

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Class Act: Interview with Jon Hallmark

May 7, 2013

If you’re looking for innovate ways to build character and leadership in your students, do not miss this interview with Jon Hallmark, Principal of Highland Middle School in Libertyville, IL. Among other things, you will be inspired by how Jon’s students are helping to build schools in Uganda.

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The Power of Adult Education: Interview with David Adcock

April 30, 2013

Adult eduction is one of the fastest growing trends in the U.S. In this interview, we get to hear from David Adcock, the current Director of Urbana Adult Education and incoming President of the Illinois Adult and Continuing Education Association.

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