Same Questions. Same Answers?

As you probably know, OSU GROW consists of four questions: two questions that remain the same each semester (work-class and work-career connections), and two competency related questions which change each semester.

One of the major questions we hear from supervisors who have had a couple years in the Student Employment Experience is, “How do we keep these first two questions interesting for students who have had a couple rounds of OSU GROW already?”

Although there is educational benefit in repetition, we don’t want students to just go through the motions each time they have this conversation. The intent is always for students to think about their job and education in new ways, and to make new connections between work, school and their future goals.

But wait! How can students find new answers with old questions? Isn’t that similar to the cliché about doing the same things over again and expecting different results?

Well, not exactly. GROW is more than a series of four questions. If that’s all it was, we could just have them complete a form and call it a day!

OSU GROW is primarily a conversation, and that’s where you come in! As a facilitator, you can help your students take different angles on a concept and stretch them to think in new ways. Your student employees have had about 12 weeks of work and class since that last conversation, and I bet there is something new in that time-span for them to chew on!

So here are a few tips to help put a new spin on familiar questions:

  1. Try to ask the question in a different way each semester. OSU GROW gives facilitators the freedom to ask questions in new and different ways. Check out the semester conversation guide for options, or ask your own!
  2. Consider leading with Questions 3 or 4. Though intentionally chosen, the order of OSU GROW questions isn’t necessarily set in stone. If you’re worried about the conversation seeming stale, start with question three or four which should be new to your employee.
  3. Follow up on previous statements from last semester. If you’ve kept notes from your students’ responses in semesters past, start off by summarizing a previous concept and ask if they’ve been able to build more to it this time around.
  4. Focus on classes they are taking this semester. For question one, a huge benefit in our corner is that students change classes each semester. If your employee has already had a couple rounds of GROW, I’d start by asking what classes they are learning in class this semester. Then you can ask about work-class connections specific to those ideas.
  5. Ask specific follow-up questions. This is probably the most important tool. Though a student may have a similar answer, you can always help them go deeper with the subject by asking good follow-ups. Even a simple “How so?” or “Can you give me a specific example of what that looks like?” can sometimes go a long way!
  6. Encourage them to keep a look out for new ideas before next semester. Lastly, if the student is planning to return, it’s a good thing to remind them that you’ll be discussing similar concepts next semester. I’d even ask them to be on the lookout at work and class for ways their job may be helping them to … (sorry I have to say it) … GROW!

What other tips do you have for supervisors taking more seasoned students through OSU GROW conversations??? Post below!

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