The first thing that comes to mind when hearing the term “boot camp” is probably hardcore physical training: daily cardio exercises, weight training and workouts like push-ups and sit-ups in camouflage uniforms. However, that is not what goes on during Mr. Marc Pierlott’s boot camp.
Pierlott’s boot camp occurs during the first three days of school in his Economics AP class.
After completing corporate leadership training in his previous job before becoming a teacher, Pierlott realized that a lot of the same things are relevant to creating a classroom culture that businesses want to create where people learn to become leaders and are able to work together.
During this boot camp, Pierlott focuses on TCORP: Team work, communication, organization and problem solving. Students are able to work on activities as classmates and learn leadership skills through hands-on activities.
“We do a series of experiential learning activities. They are very hands on, very engaging activities where kids really learn the skills of working in a team, collaborating with each other, communicating with each other, organizing efforts to problem solve together and to become leaders. We could read articles about that, we can lecture about that, but you really don’t learn how to utilize those skills until you are actually engaged in a problem, having to solve it with others,” said Pierlott.
One activity consists of three rounds where students have to get in groups of three. One student sits their back to the screen with an image so that they are not able to see the image and the other student has to verbally articulate what the picture is. Then the other student draws it and the third person observes and describes what they see.
Although it is fun and engaging, it also helps students to overcome the fear of making mistakes and asking questions.
“All these activities are about asking questions, making mistakes, recognizing that from the mistakes we go forward, and that we learn from our mistakes and that it’s okay to make mistakes because the more mistakes we make, the more we learn,” said Pierlott.
Six years of running this boot camp has allowed Pierlott to create a classroom tradition that brought joy to students and built them into stronger leaders.
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