The Gift of Completion is an extremely powerful educational technique. All great teachers innately understand this simple concept but understanding it fully will change a great teacher into an artful teacher because execution requires some skills and character traits on the giver’s behalf which may need practice.
This Post is part of the Ask Yourself, Improve Yourself Series
What is the gift of completion?
The gift of completion is teaching someone how to do something by doing it with them or even for them until as close to the end as necessary and judging when they take over and complete the task. They should take over with a small stretch but without undue difficulty. The final step is to celebrate their success.
It is “end-first training”. IE Instead of telling them or showing them what to do then asking them to do the task, you do the task with them and allow them to complete the task. Note that there may be some small steps along the way which they can complete prior to the final completion which will help them remain engaged, but the key is to allow them to complete then celebrate.
People say “Start with the end in mind”, I say “Start with the end done!”
Why does it work?
End first training works for the simple reason that everyone loves successes they also love celebrations. Challenges are rewarding, but challenges become rewarding only after a certain level of competence and confidence.
This educational trick also covers all learning modes in one hit. Trainers and teachers know that each of us learn better in different ways. One way to cover this is to tell people, show them say a diagram then explain the concept with an example. The gift of completion end-first training goes through to allowing them to experience the concept and also to know that it can be done. IE it covers
- Experiential (doing)
- and personal reinforcement (success and celebration)
Why is it a gift?
It is a gift, because the completion is their success. As their guide/teacher, you need to feel proud of them and celebrate with them for doing the task without difficulty. The gift is all the parts of the task which you did – the beginning parts, the planning, the knowledge that success breeds success and critically, the celebration at the end.
Your gift is making it simple, rewarding and genuine.
Your gift is competence and confidence.
Where Can I give the Gift of Completion?
You can use it anywhere -
- in the classroom
- in the workplace
- at home with the kids
- it is great for group leaders (trainers as well as youth groups and the like)
- you can use it with disabled/handicapped children and adults
- I have also use it online
Character traits you need to give the gift of completion
Generosity is a key character trait which you will need for giving the gift of completion. Some people will find this easy, others hard. I have used it in different contexts and I had significant difficulty in one context – the workplace. What eventually got me over it in the [then conventional] workplace was the decision to have faith in myself that I would always come up with a new way of doing something. I decided that I would always be able to improve my own skills to another level, so whatever skills and techniques I showed others, *** and critically, let them take credit for***, it didn’t matter, because I knew I would still be valued in what is a competitive arena. I am not certain if this is an example of generosity in its purest form, but it got me around my block and allowed me to act with generosity which then became easy after a time to be generous.
It is a natural tendency to either complete the task (let’s face it, it is often easier to do it yourself) or to give someone a challenge and see if they can do it. This is not the point of this exercise. Similar to UR Q: What is one thing I can and will achieve today, the point is to achieve and celebrate successes through minimizing failures. If it helps, end-first training when used with handicapped and mentally challenged and those teachers/helpers sometimes require the patience of a saint.
Deftness, Intelligence and Empathy
It is critical to judge how much the student can do without difficulty. This is an art which needs skills on the teachers behalf to know when to hand off.
Celebrate with the person. The best tip is to over celebrate remembering that it is their success. This is great with kids as well as in the workplace when applying to a team goal completion. Over celebrate the success even if progress was what you consider slow. It is not your perspective that counts, it is the perspective of the student and if they had a rewarding time then they will do it again. If they do it again, they will improve.
In the work place, I a more of a fan of shared celebration I always had trouble with those Christmas parties where partners are not invited. Singling individuals out works well for sales “teams” (if you can call them that) but celebrating the success of a project and thanking all involved is more effective.
Alternative questions to Can I Give the Gift of Completion?
- Can we start with the end done?
- Can we complete the end first?
- Can we celebrate the end of the task before learning the beginning?
- How can we celebrate a success as early as possible
Achieve favourite teacher status
Using this learning technique will allow you to provide a genuinely rewarding learning experience. You are giving competence and confidence and you will automatically become the favorite. (Note I am not actually recommending you compete, but you might as well be the best you can be
Question heritage of Can I Give the Gift of Completion?
This question was given to me by Jennifer O’Sullivan. Jennifer is a Speech and Language Therapist who received an OAM for her work with the deaf. She has also been mentioned in Edward De Bono’s books.
Success breeds success so make it easy and rewarding
Prepare, Do together, Give the Gift of Completion and Celebrate!