Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Teacher Tuesday: Efficiency Comes to Shepherds College!

Thank you to Jennifer Eakley, Instructor, for writing today's blog.


What started with the Gilbreth’s popularized Time-Motion Study to improve business efficiency has now evolved and made its way to Shepherds College! As our students chop and plant their way to Appropriate Independence™ (Ai), we ask ourselves, “What else can we do to help students become the best employees that they can be?”  With the help of the Specialty Major Instructors, Chef Cassandra Comerford and Mr. Owen Lackey, the students will begin to practice strategies to improve efficiency during their 1st year Study Skills class! 

What is efficiency? According to Dictionary.com, efficiency is the ability to accomplish something with the least waste of time and effort. In short, we will learn to work smarter, not harder. The 1st year students will be completing tasks that simulate skills that they may perform in a job. We will monitor our skills to see how we grow and improve! 

How will they do it?

To start, students will complete a task three times. We will average these into a baseline data score. Next, students will set goals to improve their speed and accuracy, thus improving efficiency. Finally, students will chart their progress each time they complete the task to see how much faster and more proficient they can become. The goal is that this process can be replicated with any task or skill to help students improve job efficiency. Tasks include bagging rice (used to practice pan-flipping skills in Culinary Arts), distributing items into plug trays (from the SC Greenhouse), disassembling Lego structures and sorting them into categories, sectioning paper into even pieces, and sorting major-specific flashcards into categories.    

As students complete tasks, they will self-assess and problem-solve ways to improve their efficiency. This is a new level of self-advocacy that will allow students to select, implement, and evaluate strategies that can be used in any job! They will be assessed on their effort, growth, and reflections as they learn this imperative new skill recently added to the Study Skills curriculum. 

What’s the point?

Horticulture students will improve the speed in which they transplant plugs into pots while minimizing air pockets that could harm the delicate roots. Culinary Arts students will more quickly chop ingredients while maintaining industry standards. These skills will help prepare students our students for jobs in their specialty majors making them more competitive with other workers. The students learn so many new skills with us at Shepherds College; now it is time to take it to the next level! 

Appropriate Independence™ (Ai) is defined as supported self-sufficiency aligned with the strengths of each individual and guided by Christian values.  The four principles of Ai are:  we are designed on and for a purpose; we are created as individuals for community; SC trains individuals for life after college; and the goal is to empower students to serve.  To fulfill the aspect of training for life, students are given the training and the opportunities to practice their skills. When students have the opportunity to practice efficiency growth in class, they are more prepared for their 3rd year Field Experience (FE) where they are placed with local businesses. At their FE sites, they will have the opportunity to exercise the skills they have learned which will ultimately earn them a certification in either Culinary Arts or Horticulture. 

As our students grow, so do we; and it is hard to contain our excitement when the students continue to amaze us with their growth of Ai in all aspects of their lives. All of the courses offered at Shepherds College are specifically designed to support students in various areas to provide them with the skills and strategies necessary to live as individuals created on and for a purpose, empowered to serve their community, and trained for life! All of the staff at Shepherds College feel honored to be a part of such an amazing organization!

Shepherds College - Guiding Your Transition to Appropriate Independence. Please visit us at www.shepherdscollege.edu.