Prior to opening a new hotel or restaurant, Disney runs through multiple rehearsals, giving cast members a chance to role play with other employees in order to get it right once there are actual customers involved. The hotel or restaurant staff are put to the test, trying to meet the demands of those role playing “customers.” Staff must meet the demands and needs of these imaginary customers in a way that stays true to the ideals of Disney. Only after cast members have practiced and perfected routines and procedures do the hotels and restaurants open to the general public.
As Lee Cockerell says in the book, “Never practice on your customers.” This advice can serve you and your students as well. As a teacher, never try out something with students that you haven’t already rehearsed. When I taught fifth grade science, my second lesson of the day would always be my best, because I had practiced an experiment prior to meeting with my first period class, run through with first period, and made adjustments by the time I saw my second period students. The rehearsal prior to meeting with students allowed me to identify possible problems and address them when I modeled for students.
When introducing new content or routines to students, also consider that rehearsal is necessary. Remember that students will only master routines through continued rehearsal and practice.