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Thursday, January 05, 2006

Pareto's principle in the classroom



Teaching Planning Teaches Me
As I blogged yesterday , in my ninth grade Computer Fundamentals we spend two weeks learning about my favorite system of planning, the Franklin Covey planning system. The students are bringing in articles that apply to our discussion of planning and goal setting.

Pareto's Principle in the Classroom: Focus
I love what one student brought in from Eat that FrogBORDER=0 -- the 80/20 rule.

He proceeded to tell the class that 20% of their work would affect 80% of their grade.

He hit on something. This is the well known Pareto's Principle which business students and those who read motivational books learn. I have never heard it applied to a student's work. I was stunned!

This student went on to say that if the student would focus on the most important aspects of their schoolwork that they could have a profound impact on their grade. The major tests. The major projects. The other should be done, he said, but the most important should receive their focus and attempt at perfection.

I can't help but think of the countless students who do everything perfectly but do not study for tests. The student who does everything but doesn't want to "do" the project and turn it in!

Meaningful Discussions through the Socratic Method
Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined that a group of ninth grade students would have such a meaningful discussion. I have an exceptional group of ninth graders who enjoy the stimulation of the Socratic method of teaching. They have an enraptured teacher who is thrilled to come to school every day and witness the brightness of their minds and the excellence of their character. These are the days I must blog about so that I can have encouragement on the days when I'm not so happy!

I have always loved the Socratic method and am stunned when I take the time to use how effective it is as a method of teaching.

Point to Ponder:

What is the 20% that you should be focusing on in your classroom that will have 80% of the result?

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