Formats for Teaching Top 20: How Is It Used?
Top 20 Concepts can be adopted in many different ways at school, home, in sports, or at the office. The most common questions we get surround how to implement at a school. Some examples that we recommend are listed below. In addition, watch the video below which features students talking about the benefits of the class and how it fit into their curriculum:
NOTE: in this example and this school, the Top 20 Training class is called TLC = Thinking, Learning, and Communicating.
- As a stand-alone class or elective: Many schools, seeing the importance and value Top 20 adds to student development and school culture, have added Top 20 classes to their curriculum. Some of these classes meet every day for a quarter or semester. Some meet once weekly for the entire year. Teachers draw upon the lessons presented in the Top 20 teacher manuals for developing these courses.
- As part of another class: Many teachers are incorporating Top 20 concepts into other content classes they are teaching. These include social studies, English, science, math, foreign language, art, physical education, religion and health. Teachers select concepts that have particular significance for their content area and make their subject matter more meaningful for their students.
- Front-loading: Because some Top 20 concepts help students be more engaged in school, some teachers are incorporating selected Top 20 lessons at the beginning of the school year or semester. These teachers, choosing to present Top 20 concepts during the first week or two of their regular classes, sometimes cover more course content because the Top 20 concepts have prepared their students for learning. Covering concepts like Listening Levels, Nonverbal Communication, Stupid and Relevancy often removes barriers to learning.
- Different grade levels: Certain topics can be taught at different grade levels. One school teaches all the thinking concepts to 6th grades, all the learning concepts to 7th graders and all the communicating concepts to 8th graders.
- Multiple subject grouping: Teachers of various content subjects can work together to present several Top 20 concepts to their students. For example, a social studies teacher, an English teacher and a science teacher, all of whom teach the same grade level, can each select 3-4 different topics to be presented to the students. This allows the students to get 9-12 topics yet only requires each teacher to present 3-4.
- During advisory or homeroom: Several schools are finding Top 20 content to be a valuable use of advisory time. Concepts can be broken into shorter time segments in order to fit into the advisory/homeroom time allotment.
- After school or co-curricular activities: Teachers or volunteers of after school programs and coaches or moderators of co-curricular activities can incorporate Top 20 topics into those formats. An after school program might also provide the basis for creating a ‘study hall’ structure for time after school where Top 20 is taught and time is spent tutoring students who need extra help with specific subjects or study skills. Coaches can select specific topics (Above and Below the Line, Listening Levels, Mistakes) that would help students be more successful in sports or other activities. (The last four chapters of Top 20 Teachers: The Revolution in American Education focus on coaching sports teams or moderating other activities.)
- Summer school: Top 20 as a summer school class has been offered for incoming high school freshman, especially those who may need a boost in order to succeed in high school. A summer orientation including Top 20 topics would benefit all students looking to maximize their potential for academic and social success in school.
(Top 20 actually began as a summer school class to help students who were likely to struggle as they began high school. However, the principal quickly saw a universal application of the material and offered the class as an elective to all freshmen. Soon the majority of incoming freshmen signed up for the class.)
Many of the concepts presented in Top 20 seminars and materials simply become part of a teacher’s framework and language and is manifested in various ways a teacher interacts with students, colleagues or parents.