Friday, January 25, 2013

A Flight Plan for Helicopter Parents - The 75/25 Rule

Modeled after the Harkness Table at Phillips Exeter Academy, we have days in my English class where the students dialogue about the text we are reading, and I chart the threads of conversation between them.

The picture here illustrates this.

The goal is that 75% of the time, I'm charting threads, and only 25% of the time I'm saying something helpful or insightful about their threads.

I call it the 75/25 rule.
What I've found is that when there is a 75/25 split, these days are my best days as a teacher. Ironically, I've found that the efficacy of that day is the result not so much because of what I'm saying or doing, but because of what I am not saying or doing. 

My silence isn't absence; it's presence. 

And in my silence my students can hear the words, "Take ownership of your education. Make it an extraordinary experience. Take the conversation in directions that challenge, fascinate, and energize us for going further up and further in.”

Aim then to foster an environment where the student does 75% of the “college talking” – in meetings with college counselor or college reps, on tours, in info sessions, and in post-tour conversations.

Pre-Tour: Encourage student to research schools before they visit campus or visit with rep (on campus or at Casady).

Pre-Tour: Have your student write down 5 questions in their Phone to ask the tour guide.
Tour: Encourage students to jot down “Notes” on phone of major impressions, cool programs, and specifics.

Post Tour: Ask reflective questions:
·      "What did you learn about yourself on this college visit?"
·      "Why do you think this school may or may not be a good fit for you?
·      “What are one or two specific things you liked about this school?

 So here is the concluding point: The more your student can “own” the college experience, the more satisfied they will be with the journey and end destination.