Silent Core Skills time at Acton Academy means exactly that – a time of deep individual work that isn’t distracted by noise or activity in the studio. How do we protect such times of “flow,” when the right challenge can lead to deep learning at a rapid clip?
Of course, all intentionality in the studio begins with the Eagle to Eagle covenants and an Eagle Buck system that lets Eagles set and uphold the standards. Without a serious buy-in by all, there is no spontaneous order.
But even with this, protecting individual work time during Silent Core Skills isn’t easy. During Silent Core Skills time, you can hear a pen drop in the studio – literally. So even the smallest creak becomes a distraction. So we have “white noise machines” that help to block out distractions.
Sometimes minor distractions can build, until all intentionality breaks down. Here, the Yacker Tracker – a listening device that can be set to trigger an alarm when a pre-set decibel level is breached – is a big help. The decibel level is at a whisper for Silent Core Skills and slightly higher for Collaboration time; if the alarm goes off, the person who triggered it owes an Eagle Buck.
Finally, when all intentionality is lost, we can depend on our Elementary Eagle neighbors below to deliver a Red Card, meaning we’ve disturbed the rights of the Elementary Eagles to learn without being distracted. A Red Card costs the Middle School community 24 Eagle Bucks.
Layers of habit, protocol and individual and community rights, developed by Eagles, with a little help from technology. It’s one set of secrets as to why Eagles can learn at a 10X rate when engaged and in flow.