Discussion Protocol

Of the many things I pulled out of EduCon this past year, the most useful has been a tool that Chris Lehmann asked a few of us to use as we led reflections sessions at the end of the day.  This discussion protocol has come in handy after working with teachers showing them new tools or methodology, especially those that are particularly complex and paradigm-shifting.  It’s simple:

  • What?: What did I see today that caused me to think, wonder, dream, plan, or question?
  • So What?: What are the consequences, ramifications of what I saw?
  • Now What?: What are the next steps for me?  my school?  my district?

When we are confronted with new knowledge or ideas, it’s easy for us to become overwhelmed, either by the potential positive effect of the that change, or the magnitude of changing our own or our district’s practices.  This protocol slims it down for you, paring your thoughts into three linear categories that intersect nicely in various places.

After being here for the last few days, there has been a mix of things I know about already, things I needed to see to believe, and a budding sense of practicality that was wholly necessary for me to see–it’s the reason I wanted to come in here in the first place.  Several of my conversations lately have centered on the very fact that I am ready to move away from the theoretical and land firmly in the practical and the applicable.  Sitting and listening to Darren yesterday explain in a calm, measured, and often hilarious way, how he began his journey with his students, gave me some real perspective in regards to how a classroom can be structured not around, but infused with, the tools we have all come to use in our professional practice.  I can take that back.

For now, as I sit here with about 40 minutes to go before heading to see Darren and Clarence present together, I focus on the first question:

  • What?: What did I see today that caused me to think, wonder, dream, plan, or question?

One of the first things I pulled from Ewan’s keynote was that we should view all of our teachers as researchers. I see the need to create a culture in our schools that pushes thinking and learning at all levels: teacher, student, administrator, etc.  As Ewan stated, “Everyone should be in R and D.”  I began to think what that would look like in the buildings I work in, and luckily, the principals or assistant principals are here with me to bounce those ideas off of.  What we’ve decided is that it has to begin with our own practice.  Run our faculty meetings as we want them to run their classrooms: worksessions and discussions rather than announcements.  If we want to spread information, send an email or post to the wiki, but if it’s about pedagogy and teaching and student issues, make it face-to-face, and make it worthwhile.

There is a theme running through a lot of the workshops here that incorporates the idea that we should promote the teachers that “get it.”  Which teachers get it, and I don’t mean technologically only, but which teachers will look at something new and attack it, refine it and make it their own?  Find them and ask them to show how they do it.  Let students show teachers how things work.  Have you heard Alan’s quote: “always bring a student to a technology conference.”  Let students show their teachers what they are actually capable of (from Eric Marcos‘ presentation today)

Next: So What?

Advertisements

3 thoughts on “Discussion Protocol

  1. Having so many of your district’s adminstrators there is going to be so helpful and powerful. What a way to show them that these thoughts and ideas are out there and being bounced around by many. Not to mention that these thoughts and ideas can be implemented by ANYone.

    I have thoroughly enjoyed the BLC08 sessions that I have caught and plan to start talking to my administration about sending representatives this coming year.

  2. Patrick, thanks for sharing the questions from Educon- truly a great framework. Sometimes I feel like I am on overload and do not have a good way to process the input. Pus I think they might become a door into how to start writing a blog for the faculty.

    “I am ready to move away from the theoretical and land firmly in the practical and the applicable”.”

    That really is the key for me.We need to explore and discuss the theoretical but it can be a stumbling block. Chris Lehmann shared about using UbD at NECC and we have decided to use his template for all lesson planning. We are going to learn by doing and skip the long explanation and theory. We have heard mos of it in one form or another before and what is really important is that we get a handle on the big picture of our curriculum because that will facilitate change.

    Steve interesting comment..
    “What a way to show them that these thoughts and ideas are out there and being bounced around by many. Not to mention that these thoughts and ideas can be implemented by ANYone.”
    that is exactly what my staff said after NECC..
    Global awareness, digital literacy etc are not just things you talk about at the staff meetings everybody is talking about them….

    Patrick-Looking forward to reading more about your take aways

  3. Barbara,

    I feel like I have so much more to process about BLC, and not so much from anything that I saw, per se, but for the things that it got stirring in my head. What Chris is saying is often what I think we should all be listening to: leave the tools behind, and let the students lead the way to their own discovery and learning. All we need to do is give them the right framework to rail against.

    Hopefully, I’ll be able to move through my notes tomorrow morning and get some things right in my mind. Thanks for the response.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s