Educating Others
Educational Strategies

We have to be honest with you. The fact that there is a section on our website called "Educational Strategies" still makes us shake our heads in disbelief. When we detoured into the world of education, we already knew the power of experience and the importance of relevancy – but had never thought about it as specifically relating to students as it applies to all of us. The fact it makes all the difference to students, and their ability and eagerness to learn is, at least to us, common sense.

We did not think about the fact that our approach to personal finance and critical life (and workforce) skills and knowledge places emphasis on WHY the information is important rather than merely discussing how and what. And we never imagined that our approach incorporates a number of proven, educational strategies. At least, not until a fateful day …

After the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) began using What I Learned About Life When My Husband Got Fired! as the basis of a personal finance and Life 101 book study program, TDCJ suggested that Red and Black meet with research experts from the George J. Beto Criminal Justice Center at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas, to discuss how to capture statistics to document the success of the program. When they met with the research experts, Red and Black explained that they attributed the success of the program to the fact that it is formatted as a book club, and that the feedback they had received indicated this very simple approach gets people talking—and therefore thinking, which is the key to getting people to apply the lessons in their daily lives. During the meeting, Red quietly listened while Black and the experts struggled with ways to "prove" the success of the program. Red became frustrated with the researchers, who were focusing on quantitative results, and she questioned how to measure the value of someone driving you crazy asking "why" all the time. It was at that point that one of the experts explained that the questioning process Black used with Red, which is demonstrated throughout the book and used in the various book study programs, is a proven, evidence-based technique called Motivational Interviewing. Black immediately turned to Red and said, "I am not your big sister, I am your motivational interviewer." Needless to say, Red was not amused.

Educators Are Telling Us ...

When Black relayed this story to several educators familiar with our program, they were not surprised, and proceeded to mention other educational strategies demonstrated by our approach. Much to our complete surprise (well, shock might be a better word), one day a department head at one of Texas' largest Independent School District's explained that the format of our book (it uses emails, Instant Messages, and telephone conversations) represents "new generation text writing" and since it uses a different cultural context therefore meets Texas' "Reading/Comprehension of Literacy Text/Theme and Genre." (Really! You cannot make this stuff up.) And, it did not stop there, as a educators even mentioned how our book and program is well-suited to move up through the pyramid of Bloom's Taxonomy.

We thought that might be the end of it, but as we continued to tell our stories, we were informed that some were actually "social evidence" stories, while many of them did indeed demonstrate an assortment of widely-recognized "educational strategies" (see the list below.) Of course, we had never heard of them so we (well, really Black) started to research the strategies. (Black likes to tell students, "Homework never ends – when you get older, you just call it research.)

The disclaimer at the bottom of this page, which appears on the back of What I Learned About Life When My Husband Got Fired!, clearly indicates that we are not education experts. (Our attorneys were not amused by how we stated it – but not sure attorneys are ever amused.) Regardless, if you are interested in Black's summaries of these educational strategies, click here or use the link to the right.

Meanwhile, here are the top ten in alphabetical order!

  1. Authentic Learning
  2. Back-Mapping
  3. Bloom's Taxonomy
  4. Cooperative Learning
  5. Inquiry Based Learning
  6. Interdisciplinary/Cross-Curricular Teaching
  7. Motivational Interviewing/Critical Thinking
  8. New Generation Text Writing
  9. Relevant Expansion of "Prior Knowledge" (Scaffolding)
  10. Social and Emotional Learning (SEL)

Educational Strategies