Bob Jones’ Advisory allows in-depth discovery
MADISON – “Advisory” is the buzzword for session time used for beyond-the-classroom discussion at Bob Jones High School.
“We incorporated a 20-minute block of time called Advisory into our school schedule when school began in fall 2015,” Bob Jones Instructional Partner Mary Oliver said. “All students meet at the end of first block every other week with their teacher and classmates to discuss a variety of topics.”
The intent of Advisory is to provide students with a small-group setting that will help them feel more connected to their peers and faculty members.
When the school year opened, teachers surveyed Bob Jones students for discussion topics during Advisory. Topics have included listening, power of nonverbal communication, making wise decisions, setting goals, problem solving, study skills, kindness, empathy and social media responsibility.
“We’ve created lessons about the same topic but have varied them some, based on students’ grade level,” Oliver said. In discussing decision making, seniors will focus on choosing a good roommate for college, while Bob Jones freshmen will consider choosing friends.
S2S (Student 2 Student) Peer Helpers and Teaching Academy students have collaborated on Advisory lessons. “It’s wonderful to have student input and perspectives so Advisory sessions are meaningful,” Oliver said.
Advisory greatly benefits teachers with the chance to get to know their students better. “Teachers learn about student interests and goals and plans for the future. Advisory gives teachers a few minutes to connect with students on another level besides academics,” Oliver said.
Conversations during Advisory might connect a classroom concept with a student’s hobby or goal for the future, thus making the concept more relevant.
“Teachers work to create a culture where students can be honest during Advisory, but if a student has a personal problem, the teacher would probably speak privately with the student or have him or her speak with their counselor,” Oliver said.
Another goal for Advisory is for all students to have “a trusted adult to speak to at school. Our teachers have great respect for their students and want to help and support them,” Oliver said.