ACT is a very simple and flexible teaching model that ensures consistent effectiveness of the 7 Mindsets curriculum. The ACT model is ideal for the Facilitated Learning Environment that takes the burden off a teacher from being the “expert” and allows them to be more of a guide and participant in the educational process with their students. We recommend a simple three step process that can be repeated over and over with a proven high degree of effectiveness. That process is known as ACT and it stands for Attention, Connection and Transition. Here is a summary:
The critical first step in the 7 Mindsets teaching approach is to engage the class by getting the students' attention, making the content relevant, and preparing them to actively engage with the forthcoming lesson. All modules within the 7 Mindsets curriculum provide an attention grabber. Additionally, within the Resources section, there are many other tools and devices that teachers can choose from to initiate lessons. We encourage teachers to spend time in the Resources section understanding all the tools they have at their disposal.
The attention grabber may be a video that is intriguing, emotional, or inspirational. It could also be a story, some music, a classroom game, or an inspirational quote. Some teachers might choose to pose a question to the class and let individual students share thoughts and ideas. Every class and teaching style is different, and instructors should utilize the tools most effective for their environment. It is also important to mix it up, using different attention grabbers.
The second critical step is building a connection with the students around the lesson and the students’ lives. Perhaps the most powerful aspect of any lesson is the ability to have the students communicate the lesson in their own terms. While we may think we know what is relevant to them, we often don’t. When they make the connection to their lives, it becomes relevant. More powerfully, when they share this with other students, they often succeed in making this same connection for a large number of other students.
The connection most often takes the form of an open-ended questioning process. Throughout the lessons, we provide suggestion questions and intriguing statements designed to facilitate connection. Teachers may also ask students to share personal stories or describe people whom they admire and why.
The important thing is to get the students talking in a safe environment where there are no right or wrong answers. Part of this is classroom management, but the other essential element is the instructor’s sharing of his or her own perspectives and personal stories, as if they were a student in the class. When done correctly, students engage more frequently, and a stronger bond is formed with the classroom teacher.
The third and final step of the ACT methodology is to transition the lesson into action that takes the concept from the theoretical to the students' real world. Ultimately, the success of this or any program is the impact it has on the daily activities of the students. The goal with this component is to drive purposeful and positive activity in the lives of our students.
The Transition component of the 7 Mindsets often includes some form of written activity that challenges the students to translate the content of the lesson into the goals and plans they are making for their lives. This could be through writing a journal entry, filling in a life-plan, or completing a homework assignment. Other action elements include hands-on projects, oral presentations, contests, multi-media presentations, etc. As with all aspects of the program, we encourage instructors to use their own creativity and existing tools to facilitate this process.
Students must understand that our lives are a result of the decisions we make and the actions we take, as well as how we learn and grow from the experiences in our lives.