The other day a student from a class before mine came out of the classroom and said, “Did I miss anything the first ten minutes I wasn’t there?” And the student to whom he was speaking said, “No. Not really.”
I hope no one says that about the classes I teach. I try not only to fill every minute of every class with something worthwhile, with some great “takeaway,” but I also try to see to it that each class begins with something valuable. It’s always important to pique interest, create anticipation, and provide continuity at the beginning of any new undertaking, including a seemingly run-of-the-mill class, task, or meeting.
I begin most of my classes with a ten-minute “starter” I call “Protocol.” Protocol is an opportunity for a student to review the contents of the previous class period, and then in some way carry that contents and those thoughts forward into the current class period. Over the years students have conducted game shows like Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune, they have created their own media presentations, or they have used crossword puzzles or fun quizzes.
The results have been very positive:
- The students making the presentation have had to engage the material and learn it better themselves.
- The students in the classroom receive the benefit of reviewing material in a fun atmosphere.
- All material along the way is reviewed so that there is less “cramming” when it is time for an exam.
- The first ten minutes of each class period are advantageous to the entire class.
- Protocol is a springboard for new material.
This method works well in many areas of life, business, or ministry. A good book always has a great first sentence. A good meeting always has an energizing and creative start. A good sermon has an interesting introduction.
Books, meetings, sermons, and many other things in life benefit from reviewing older material and springboarding into new. The whole idea is to build on things we know so that we retain the old, engage the present material, and look forward to what we are yet to learn. I’m working through that process right now while I am learning all about creating and maintaining a self-hosted blog. It’s both frustrating and exhilarating, but boy, have I learned a great deal. And I can’t wait to learn more…building on top of what I already know.
How can you use the concept of “Protocol” in your work or daily life? How do you take advantage of the first ten minutes? I’d love to hear your ideas.