How to Build a Culture of Achievement in 20 Hours

In this post I want to share a planning and reflection tool I just made. I hope you can find some use for it.

When I try something new I look for small changes that will have the biggest impact if practiced faithfully. (Is that idea from Steve Covey?) Recently, I’ve been learning how to create a classroom environment built on relationships, and things are going very well. Serendipitously, I’ve come across two related resources that are helping me reflect and plan the next steps.

In his Ted Talk, The first 20 hours — how to learn anything, Josh Kaufman lists the four steps to go from “grossly incompetent” to “reasonable good” at something in 20 hours:

  • Break things down
  • Learn to self-correct
  • Remove barriers
  • Give it 20 hours of intense practice

He adds that emotion is a bigger block to learning than intellect.

In How to Create a Culture of Achievement in Your School and Classroom, Doug Fisher and Nancy Frey list the five pillars present in a culture of achievement:

  • Greeting
  • Do no harm
  • Choice words
  • It’s never too late to learn, and
  • We are the best school in the universe.

I recently attended an AZK12 Center PD featuring Fisher in which he presented the pillars. While listening I realized that I might become reasonably competent using Fisher’s  pillars if I applied Kaufman’s steps.  So I made up the attached tool that I’m going to start using as I refine my skills.

By all means watch Kaufman’s Ted talk and read Fisher and Frey’s book and visit their website to go deeper into their topics.

And if you find any use for the attachment, could you let me know? Thanks in advance!

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  • BoWixted

    Merz…I’m baaaaack!

    Merz…I’m baaaaack!

    Anyhow, stumbled across your name in today’s NPR article.  I’m back in Tucson and have connected with Burgess Needle.  

    Anyhow, just wanted to note that your 20 hours worksheet pdf file contains a typo error in the “Do No Harm” box.  

    I knew you’d want to know, and more importantly, have ME be the one to take the red pencil to it.  

    While I have hung up the chalk, I joined this CTQ organization and am looking forward to learning more.  

    See ya.  

    • SandyMerz

      Good Catch

      Thanks for the correction, Bo. I fixed it and uploaded it as a spreadsheet so it can be edited. 

  • AdrienneBullock

    Hitting the Nail on the Head

    Absolutely love the article! I make sure to greet my students every morning and in the afternoon at dismissal with a robust greeting. We also have an empowering affirmation statement we say everyday. I have several classes and each class does it. If I forget, or don’t start the affirmation statement right away, a student always reminds me that we haven’t said it yet. I’m a firm believer in putting positivity in the atmosphere and hoping that the others “contract” it.