This post is part of a series of posts called XP3 101. Be sure to check out the entire series! You can check out the previous post in this series by clicking here.
Have you ever heard the phrase, “Scope & Cycle?” It’s an idea we believe in, here at Orange, when it comes to designing a teaching strategy for kids and teenagers. Here’s what it means. A SCOPE is a comprehensive plan that prioritizes what you teach. And a CYCLE is your plan to recycle and reinforce what you teach so it’s effective.
Some educators use the term “sequence” instead of “cycle.” But sequential learning is more effective with concepts that build in a linear fashion. First you learn to count, then you learn addition, then multiplication, then pre-algebra, then quantum physics. Once you master a concept, then you are ready to move on to something more complex.
But thinking in terms of sequential learning can be misleading when it comes to faith development because, as you know, we don’t learn everything we need to know the first time… we don’t immediately and forever apply every sermon after we hear it… and we often discover something new in a passage of Scripture we’ve heard or read a hundred times before. When you think in terms of cyclical learning, you recognize core truths will have fresh meaning with every new phase of a kid’s life.
So your scope prioritizes what you will teach, and your cycle strategically reinforces those principles again and again, in a variety of creative ways. The CYCLE in your Scope & Cycle is really important. Because you can’t make kids show up more consistently. You can’t make more hours in the week. But you can make the time you have matter more by recycling and reinforcing the things that matter most during the middle school phase.
Now there are a few things you should anticipate if you are really focused on teaching kids what matters most at every phase. When you teach less for more, it means you have to decide what you are NOT going to talk about. Like, maybe, considering the limited time you have with your middle schoolers, your 6th graders don’t need to do that eight-week exegetical study of the Levitical purity codes. But unless you explain your strategy, there may be adults who wonder why you are leaving something out, who feel like you already covered this topic several months ago, or who want you to teach something more often than you already are.
Just remember, you shouldn’t prioritize your content based on how adults feel. You need to prioritize based on how kids learn. Sure, it can seem monotonous teaching the same thing year after year, but it’s the way kids learn. They learn through creative repetition. That’s why every leader has to think about more than just a curriculum.
This is the approach we take when helping you strategize the topics you’ll teach with XP3. If you haven’t seen it already, check out our most recent XP3 Scope & Cycles for Middle School and High School! The important thing to remember is that you need a scope for the concepts you’ll teach, and you’ll need a cycle to reinforce those concepts. Because every leader needs a strategy for their message.
With a strategy you can say what matters most, in a way they will hear it and remember it, and know what to do about it this week.
This little XP3 101 series is almost over! I know you’re sad. But we have two more post left! Here’s what’s coming next:
- XP3 MS and HS differences
- More Resources from XP3
Check back soon for these final two posts in this series.