Daryl Capuano: Expert on Motivating Students To Succeed
What do I know?!
Before you should buy my book or hire our company, you should ask that question. I certainly do when I am about to invest in anything.
I am not an expert in almost everything.
But, through a decade of building The Learning Consultants into one of the country’s top private education consultancies, I have developed a deep expertise in motivating students to care about academic success. As I have explained elsewhere, since the vast majority of clients with motivational issues are teen boys, I have an even deeper expertise in this specific area.
I need to precisely define “expertise” and why my particular expertise will be valuable to parents. Experts have the ability to quickly recognize patterns within their specialized area and, if they are capable communicators, suggest a plan for their clients based on leveraging their knowledge of these patterns.
The development of an expert's skill is built upon analysis of thousands of past patterns. For example, expert doctors have observed thousands of patients and can tell the difference quite quickly between slight variations in pathology. Similarly, experienced lawyers can efficiently decipher the strengths and weaknesses of a legal claim based on outcomes of past cases with similar facts.
Let me explain why my precise expertise is fairly unique.
Perhaps foremost, there are simply not that many experienced academic coaches. The education industry, while growing at an extraordinary rate, is still relatively new. Private tutoring and academic counseling firms are gaining traction in most every area of the country, but, nonetheless, most started in the last 5-7 years. I have been immersed in this work for more than a decade.
It is important to note that teachers - at least in today's world - are not academic coaches for individuals like your son. Teachers deal primarily with motivation issues from a group perspective. They focus on getting their class excited about the work. Those that have this skill are considered exceptional teachers. Indeed, when I teach classes I focus on general motivational issues that can make the entire class engaged. This precise expertise can be defined as the ability to temporarily energize a group. It does not, however, encompass shifting the motivational energy of individual students in any long lasting way.
Some have developed the ability to motivate individual students but most have not. Most high school teachers simply do not have the time to develop meaningful individual relationships with students. Those that do become the rare teachers who can make the student look forward not only to their class but school itself. But, since teachers do not act in the capacity of holistic academic coach, but rather teacher and evaluator, even the best of the best rarely create an overall life changing motivational framework for individual students. Those that do are treasures.
The other archetypes of non-parent motivators are now mostly anachronistic. Neither the neighborhood parent nor community elder is particularly available for most young adults.
I have worked with several thousand students and have not found any – yet – that have said that their overall outlook towards school achievement has been affected by someone “in the village”. My experience is predominantly limited to an affluent, suburban, Northeastern client base where busyness seems to preclude deep interactions between teens and adults. I should also say that in the age of church scandals, and other well-publicized stories of exploitation, there is a general wariness that prevents young adults from interacting with any adult other than their parents.
Therapists do develop strong connections with young adults but predominantly work with students on their emotional challenges and not necessarily in relation to academic success. And, of course, most students do not see therapists.
There is another group that claims expertise on the subject of student-child motivation: parent-authors. Here, the parent-author has raised his/her own children in a particular way and claim that their children turned out well due to their methods. There are nuggets of wisdom to be gleaned from such books – and I have read most of the major ones – but in each instance, I have found several issues in these works.
Perhaps most significantly, such authors lack a breadth of educational experience. This necessarily calls into question the expertise of the authors. The parent-author has typically raised 2-4 children. Such expertise would be metaphorically akin to a doctor-author who treated only a few patients or any other self-proclaimed expert whose claim to expertise is severely limited by inexperience.
Even more problematic is that these parent-authors claim expertise based on the in-depth knowledge that a parent can only have about their own child. That they have such knowledge enables them to be uniquely well-positioned to give idiosyncratic advice regarding their own child. They are, indeed, experts on raising their own child. But, unless the readers’ children are very similar to the author’s children, the advice is necessarily limiting.
As for academic researchers who have spent their time creating educational policy, they may be in a position to provide suggestions for educational reform but they have little understanding of how to motivate individual students.
In relation to my educational practice, I am situated in a different way. I am an academic coach with deep experiential knowledge as a practitioner. Certainly, I have pored through academic literature and psychological treatises about motivating students. But, over time, I’ve grown to realize that one real life interaction is worth a thousand pages of reading from theorists who are not practitioners. Moreover, in running a company that works with several thousand students each year, I am constantly immersed in case studies of different students working with The Learning Consultants.
The success of our company can be attributed to many facets. My highly talented teammates being first and foremost in the list of reasons why The Learning Consultants has become Connecticut's leading educational consultancy. But, the differentiating factor that has separated us from dozens of education consultancies in Connecticut has been our ability to motivate teens and, perhaps more specifically, motivate teen boys.
 Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink provides an excellent general treatment on experts. Essentially, Gladwell elaborates on seemingly instantaneous good judgments made by experts. But, this efficiency emanates from years of practice.
Daryl founded The Learning Consultants to improve student performance and inspire young adults to reach their full potential. Daryl graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Georgetown University, where he graduated number one in his concentration and was named the Outstanding Student in his department.
Daryl earned a dual degree: a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where he was named to Who's Who in American Law Students, and a master’s degree from Penn's Fels Center of Government. Daryl also earned a prestigious Equal Justice Foundation Fellowship, for which he served at The Brookings Institute, the nation's top think tank.
After Penn Law, Daryl was appointed an Assistant District Attorney in Philadelphia where he worked on high profile homicide appeals. Thereafter, Daryl moved to Washington, DC and served the United States as enforcement attorney with the Securities and Exchange Commission where he led the investigation into one of the largest financial frauds in history.
After serving as an associate with one of the nation's largest law firms, Daryl became Vice-President and General Counsel for Mindgrow, an A&E television-funded new media-education company.
In order to pursue his interest in education and to focus directly on helping students reach their potential, Daryl founded The Learning Consultants in 2000.
Recently named to Who's Who In America, Daryl has been featured on NBC Television and in national magazines such as Business Week and Online Learning and local media such as The Hartford Courant and WMRD Radio. Daryl has also published numerous articles in national magazines on various educational issues.
In addition to running The Learning Consultants, Daryl is a professor of Constitutional Law as well as several other college courses related to law and government.
Daryl is a featured speaker on educational issues on a local and national level.
Daryl, lives in Old Saybrook, CT with his wife and three children, and can be reached at (860) 510-0410 or via email at dcapuano@LearningConsultantsGroup.com