Over the years, when it comes to convincing students to do something – whatever it is – I’ve had the feeling that if they hear it from another student, it happens far more often than when they hear it from me. Whether it’s trying to recruit students to join band or get students to come to a concert of their peers, it never ceases to amaze me. No matter how hard I try, no matter how many notes I write or phone calls I make, that student-to-student contact always wins out. And now I have proof. On the news, I heard about a study that found that a message has twenty-two times more impact if it comes from a friend than if it is a generic message. Twenty-two times! Okay, so maybe it’s not quite that high a number when we ask students ourselves since coming from us, as teachers, it’s not a completely generic message, but I bet it is still a remarkably high number. However, all I know is that once I started having my students cajole other students, the results skyrocketed. I guess it can be summed up in the words of newscaster Stephanie Ruhle who said, “People trust relationships, they don’t trust information.”
Peter Loel Boonshaft, Director of Education
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