I just completed a new study, among students in higher education institutions. I asked the students what elements they appreciated most when learning something new in an academic or non-academic environment. They were given plenty of options, as well as free space to write in their own answer to the question. Their top four responses were enlightening, but not surprising to me. They preferred:
- Story vs. Didactic
- Conversation vs. Monologue
- Visual vs. Verbal
- Simple vs. Complex
Did you catch that? They love narratives. They love interaction. They love pictures. They want us to make the complex simple. They’re asking for stories from real life that they can talk about and make sense of; they want to attach a metaphor to help them remember what they learned and they want a single take-away…not so many they can’t retain them all. My question is: just like great cross-cultural missionaries, shouldn’t we find ways to connect with the people we’re attempting to reach? Wouldn’t it make sense to use the vehicles of communication they prefer?
Based upon our research, we’ve just released a new resource for you to use as you equip young leaders on your campus. We call it:
“Case and Point.”
It is a series of case studies, containing relevant stories (item one above), about students who faced a dilemma as a young leader. Questions come next, as your students unpack the story and make sense of what they would do in a similar situation. (Item two above). Then, we share a Habitude that teaches a principle students can practice or apply in that situation (item three above). Finally, we help the students summarize their take-away (item four above).
The case studies include scenarios with Resident Advisors, Student Government Officers, Peer Leaders, Mentors and other leadership roles. The discussions revolve around issues like conflict resolution, morals and ethics, relationship skills, integrity, communication, justice, discipline, collaboration and more.
Neil Best, Director of Residence Life at Geneva College, wrote up the case studies, and we’ve connected a Habitude image to the conversations. This tool could be ideal for starting conversations in your meetings with student leaders.