Client Question: Could you provide some in-the-classroom student retention tips that work for your school?
At Combined Martial Arts Academy, we implement several techniques and tools within our Kids Martial Arts programs. The student retention tips I’ll provide here are used within our Little Dragons Program (3 to 6 year-olds) and in our Beginners Program (6 to 10 year-olds).
All students group themselves by age. This helps with learning and stops bullying. Student’s self-esteem and confidence increases when grouped by age.
We set an achievable grading curriculum based on the student’s age.
Break it into four
Each class has four stages. This helps with students’ concentration as they are not repeating the same thing over and over again for 45 minutes.
Changing the order, instructors and equipment enhances and disguises the repetition of learning.
Use students’ names at least 3 to 4 times throughout the class
This shows the students that you care about them. Above all, I believe this is one of the most important things in student retention.
We continually host special events throughout the year. This allows students to show their friends and parents how well they are doing.
Take photos and give out awards
We take a photo whenever a student makes an achievement, such as white belt. In addition, we also present an award. The award says: “a black belt is a white belt that never quits.” We present the award to the student in front of their peers in the class.
A constant reinforcement and recognition of the hard work and dedication to training.
3 to 4 are handed out in each class.
Monthly attendance awards
Students who have not missed any classes for the month receive these awards.
Shihan’s Super Star Award
The student who receives this award exerts effort in each division of school, at home and in class. The student also receives a special badge that is put on their gi.
Each student receives a card in the mail and they get to wear a black belt for their class. In addition, photos are provided of them wearing a black belt.
Done on a quarterly basis.
Get well soon and miss you cards
Cards sent on a weekly basis to connect with the students so they are not away for too long.
Students who bring the most awards from school receive a pizza party. This encourages students to not only do well in Martial Arts class, but also other activities, including school.
Free birthday parties
All children under the age of 10 can sign up for a free birthday party. We include details of this in our information packet.
Consistency and Persistence Breeds Results
Consistently carry out these 16 retention tips every month if you want drop-outs to stop. At Combined Martial Arts Academy, we try to be as consistent as possible with these retention efforts. I meet with my management and office staff every third Monday to remind them of these systems and to make sure they are comfortable and using the techniques. Every two weeks I have an instructors meeting and training as well to check to see if they are implementing these systems.
Bill Wakefield is one of Australia’s pioneers of growth and success in the Martial Arts industry, www.c-m-a.com.au. He is a well-known and prominent speaker on the subject of Martial Arts business, as well as a Member Solutions Advisory Team Member.
Contact Client Services with any questions you might have.