board break

Monday, August 30, 2010

No, you are NOT ready for graduation

Did you ever try the "Mom, all my friends are doing it" approach to get permission for something as a kid?  I'm sure, like me, you got the standard response, "If all your friends jumped off a bridge, would you do that too?"  That was before bungie jumping, so I really had no come-back, but if she asked me that question today, I might just have a snappy answer!

So what happens when a student notices that all of his classmates are graduating, but he isn't?  What is your standard reply when a student thinks they are ready for the next belt level and you know they are not?
Some options that I've heard: "Get back in line.  I'll tell you when you're ready."  "The more often you ask me, the longer it will take."

I'm not sure how well those answers would be received in this age of customer service, and they really don't address the issue.  For our students, it boils down to four key factors that even the newest student can monitor:
1) number of classes since last graduation (have you been in front of an instructor enough?)
2) length of time since last graduation (are you cramming or really learning?)
3) knowledge of curriculum (do you remember what you are supposed to know?)
4) quality of skills (are you good at the things you do know?)

It's important that some of the qualifying elements for graduating be directly under the control of the student.  And for the typical student, showing up for class on a regular basis will most likely take care of knowledge and quality anyway.  This way, both the student and the instructors are responsible for the student's progress.  If they have been in class, then they should at least have the knowledge and know what they have to improve upon physically.

Normally, if someone is not ready for graduation, the instructor can point to each of these four areas and explain which ones have been met and which have not.  This simple, objective standard is fair and easy to maintain.  It's kind of like Mom asking, "Is your homework done? Did you take out the trash?" before letting you go out and play.  We all know what we're supposed to do, but someone has to make sure it gets done.

No comments:

Post a Comment