Sara and Daughter

I’m going to guess you’ve never thought about that question before. Fun fact, I run a speed dating ministry with my daughter, Adia. Recently, the two of us presented a workshop at the Michigan Association of Non-public Schools conference on this topic. 

We were able to present ideas from both a teacher’s perspective (I’m blessed to be called to the vocation of Associate Professor in the School of Education here at Concordia Ann Arbor) and a student’s perspective (Adia is in the 8th grade and runs the speed dating events).

Key takeaways

So, what do speed dating and teaching have in common? Here are 3 big takeaways from our presentation to keep in mind as an educator:

You can’t hide when you are face-to-face with a date and the same is true when you are a leader of a classroom.

You need to be fully transparent with your students. Tell them that learning is going to be difficult sometimes, and that’s okay. Give students the self-assessment tools and learning scaffolds they need to be successful. Teach them conflict resolution strategies such as taking a deep breath, using I statements, and being open-minded listeners.

Timing is everything. 

You can learn a lot about a date in 6 minutes (the exact time of each speed date) and you should be chunking your instruction in the same way. Are you stopping roughly every 6 minutes to review material with students? Are you having your students develop questions and summaries about what they have learned? Do you make sure students have opportunities to reflect on their learning and organize their thoughts in their own words?

Structure matters. 

Each date follows the same format but every conversation is unique. Your students should know exactly what to expect from their time in your classroom. When students know exactly what they need to do each day, they come to school more confidently. Have a routine schedule that varies in strategies and activities but does not vary in foundational structure. Makes sure to effectively establish policies and routines with your students so that your classroom runs efficiently and you can focus on instruction.

Looking at education differently

I truly believe when we look at education from a unique lens, we gain the creativity to be innovative in how we address learning. Please feel free to reach out should you want more information on any of these strategies. And if you are in the mood for some speed dating, you know where to find us.

Written by Dr. Sara Clemm Von Hohenberg, Coordinator of the Master of Science in Curriculum and Instruction with Teaching Certification Program, Associate Professor of Education and Geography.