Question #3: I’m concerned that all this extra-curricular stuff takes away from academic time.
It is true that if the students were not doing that 15-minute Check-In every morning and those 30 minutes at the end of the school day on Discovery Process activities, that 45 minutes could be added to academic studies. (Note: That total of 45 minutes is the most daily time that any school devotes to the Discovery Process.) However, it does not necessarily follow that more academic learning would take place as a result.
In fact, Discovery Process administrators and teachers uniformly report increases in test scores and an enhanced seriousness of purpose in the classroom. One assistant principal told us, “Since we adopted this program, fewer misbehaving students have been sent my way. I think that’s because the Discovery Process inspires a positive ethic of mutual respect between the students and their teachers. That leads to more learning across the board.”
The seventh of Stephen Covey’s The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People (1989) is called Sharpening the Saw. Sometimes continually sawing or hacking away at the job at hand plays out the law of diminishing returns. Discovery Process educators have seen first-hand that time intentionally set aside for the Discovery Groups serves to “sharpen the saw” of our physical, spiritual, intellectual, and social/emotional dimensions. And when you get right down to it, isn’t that the purpose of SEL? (I mean, shouldn’t that be the purpose of school anyway?)
Onward, Malcolm Gauld