Tag: prevention education

Do more with less

June 7th, 2011

We have a message. We know this message can change lives. But how can this message be as engaging as possible?

Here’s the problem: when we know a lot about something we tend to share too much. The result is that the people who could benefit most from the message disengage from it, or don’t engage deeply enough for the message to shape their behavior.

With this conundrum in mind, I designed and implemented with a group of teens an unconventional approach to engagement. I imposed the following limits on myself:

1. My notes had to fit on one side of a single sheet of paper.
2. I could only make two points during the hour and ten minute class period. The rest of the content had to come from the teens.
3. I couldn’t use any other resources (slides, books, etc.).

This is good time to emphasize just how frightening it can be to challenge the far reaches of our comfort zone. I knew that what transpired would be either dynamic or awkward and clunky. I had no idea which. What happened surprised everyone in the room. Especially me.

I filmed the demonstration and will post the footage in short segments throughout the summer. For now, I wanted to share the development process so that you can experiment and interact with it.

So here is what I did:

Step 1: Answer the following question with a single statement:

Question: What do I want to do?

At the top of the paper I put a summary statement: “Demonstrate tools of engagement.”

Step 2: Answer the question:

How am I going to accomplish step 1?

I wrote down all of the skills and practices that make up this engagement model which I had been collecting on 3” x 5” cards: Use of divergent questions, reflective listening, synthesis, curiosity, etc. These I wrote down on mini-sticky notes.

Step 3: In what sequence will I do these things?

I arranged the sticky notes in a progression that I thought would flow best.

Step 4: I transcribed the sequence into my single sheet of paper with one column for each of the two days I would be there.

With my single sheet in hand I was ready to put my engagement model to the test. What would you put on your single sheet of paper?

A reporter from the local paper observed the presentation. Click here to read the article.

    A new standard for good questions

    March 15th, 2011

    Few tools are more critical to learning than the ability to ask good questions. Unfortunately, most people believe that a good question is open-ended and a bad question is closed-ended. Not true.

    This traditional standard is grossly inaccurate. Exceptional questions can be open and closed-ended. My daughter asked me, “Can dogs see better than humans at night?” This is an excellent question. The fact that it is closed-ended doesn’t matter.

    Abandon the old definition of a good question. Don’t worry about whether a question begins with who, what, where, when, why , or how.

    Consider a new standard for good questions:

    1) Was the question’s origin authentic curiosity?

    2) Did the question awaken curiosity in others?

    3) Did the question generate additional good questions?

    Promote learning and engage students at a deeper level by asking excellent questions. Better yet, teach students how to recognize and ask good questions for themselves. Few skills are more important for life-long learning.

      New Book Blazes Trail to Connecting With Teens

      February 24th, 2011

      The Teen Age: 40 Reflections on Relating With Teens—Andrew F. Robinson Eugene, Oregon— Who is the person who touched your life when you were a teenager? Isn’t that the person you want to be to the teens in your life? That’s the person they need you to be says Author Andrew F. Robinson.

      Robinson just released his new book The Teen Age: 40 Reflections on Relating with Teens. Robinson’s book is not another self-help manual it’s a well researched, proven look at how each of us can better communicate with teenagers. Readers will find a clear, engaging and reliable roadmap to connecting with teens in ways that will positively impact them for life.

      In reading The Teen Age you will also rediscover the things that stood out in your life and will find those same magic moments can impact the teen age around us. “Residing within each of us are resources that, when fully expressed, can make a world of difference in the life of a teen,” asserts Robinson, an educational coach who translates adolescent brain research into relevant applications for organizations throughout the U.S. In this collection of keen, compassionate and disarming essays Robinson both amplifies and models his thesis that the requisite for creating positive change is to risk bringing our full, authentic selves to relationships.

      Throughout this highly accessible book Robinson paints memorable word pictures to illuminate both the complexities of the teen psyche, and the ways in which we may succeed—or fail—to secure a trusting, transformative relationship with the teens we care about. “I hope this book will both challenge our assumptions and affirm our deepest intuitions as we reach out to teens,” says Robinson. “I know the sea change that can occur in teens when they experience us as whole, vulnerable individuals who genuinely get them. This can literally save their lives.”

      The Teen Age is an invitation to think beyond our original boundaries—it encourages us to come along side teens, to come alongside one another, respectfully, with an eager curiosity,” says Christine Barber, a counselor with over 30 years of clinical experience, “I find myself fully absorbed in this book, and like a good meal, it lingers with me, naturally continuing to ask questions, to reflect on what I have read.”

      “Like missives from a battlefield, The Teen Age gives you the sense that the author, Andrew Robinson, has been there and wants to help you in the work you do with young people,” says John Santin, a Project Coordinator with Oregon Research Institute.

      The Teen Age: 40 Reflections on Relating With Teens is available at www.peoplechangepeople.com and on Amazon (click here). This is the author’s first book. About Andrew Robinson: Andrew Robinson is writer, trainer, and speaker who’s received enthusiastic reviews for his energetic and provocative presentations. Through his website, newsletter, blog and podcasts he advocates for effecting positive change by availing ourselves of our creativity and compassion. Robinson’s interest in the dynamics of change and relationships led him to pursue a master’s in education, with a marriage and family therapy specialization, at the University of Oregon. He earned his M.A. in 2001, and in the years following directed a youth development program, which grew to reach more than 50,000 students annually. He is now honored to partner with groups from all parts of the U.S.