Changing The Way Students Learn And Succeed

Changing The Way Students Learn And Succeed

by Steve Gamel

Homework In A Cafe

We’ve all had those moments when epiphany strikes. It’s an amazing feeling, especially when that vision benefits others on a larger scale once it is fine-tuned and put into practice.

For Manu Shahi, her epiphany struck while sitting in the one place that would tie it all together – a coffee shop.

Shahi, the former owner of Kumon Learning Center in Highland Village and a certified motivational speaker and academic life coach, is changing the way middle school students learn and succeed with a venture called Homework in a Cafe. This revolutionary system allows Shahi to coach students on an intimate level in everything from homework to academic life skills, time management, and communication. All of it is done in a cafe where students can complete assignments in a relaxed setting while receiving guidance from coaches and mentors.

It’s not tutoring, but a way to empower kids to create a system, Shahi said. She gives students a proverbial toolbox full of life skills in a laid-back environment they are emotionally accepting of. She builds their self-confidence while challenging them to cultivate their skills over time.

“The funny thing was that all my research was being done while sitting in a Starbucks,” Shahi said of her goal of learning the “why” behind a child’s lack of motivation when it comes to studying. “I’d be sitting there, and these kids would come in and be there in the cafe for four hours but only get 30 minutes of work done. At that point I realized, the struggle wasn’t math and reading. The struggle was the system.”

Not only has Homework in a Cafe received buy-in from students – Shahi had 35 kids immediately express interest – but she now does her sessions at Epic Gelato and Snow Village Cafe in Flower Mound and Liberation Coffee Company in Coppell. Nearby school districts and universities are also taking interest.

“These children are focused in the cafe,” Shahi said.”They don’t want to be on Instagram or Snapchat when they are here; they are interacting and getting immediate feedback from their peers and mentors. We’ve found what motivates them. I’m excited to see all of this going in the right direction.”

Homework in a Cafe is held after school from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday. For more information, visit the Facebook page: www.facebook.com/Homeworkinacafe.


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