If the purpose of a Collaborative Team Meeting, as part of a school's collaborative response, is to engage in a deep discussion about classroom practice, suggest Tier 1 and 2 supports and examine potentially innovative ways to meet the needs of students, the quality of the dialogue that happens is critical. A skillful facilitator in the meeting can ask questions, prompt ideas and engage all team members in the discussion. To assist with this facilitation, a cohort of principals in Edmonton Public Schools co-created a Prompting Guide for Collaborative Team Meetings, sharing a number of questions to consider asking during a team meeting.
However, a goal for the Collaborative Team Meeting should be that, in time, the team as a whole are engaging in questioning and purposeful dialogue with each other, eventually reinforcing a culture of deep inquiry and the ongoing examination of multiple ways to support students through ever-adapting instruction.
A simple way to start to build this collaborative skillset is through the use of question prompts and discussion cards. Consider the use of Team Meeting Question and Discussion Cards.
Click on this resource to access a Google doc template for question and discussion cards (please make a copy to make any desired adjustments). Consider handing 2-3 of these out to each team member and set the meeting goal that they must use one during the course of the meeting, to dig into ideas and suggestions being posed by other team members.
At Darwell School, staff are handed out five different question cues, which they are encouraged to use during the course of the meeting. In one meeting, teachers set a goal of placing a card in the middle of the table every time they stated a question to their colleagues. They easily surpassed their goal of 12 cards by the end of the meeting!
Some other ideas observed in schools have included:
- Cutting up questions into strips to be distributed amongst team members to be asked during the meeting
- Keeping a tally of how many questions from the list are asked and challenging teams how can be using the most questions during the meeting
In time, these strategies may not be needed, as questioning, probing and inquiring become second-nature to the team. However, the strategy of using physical question and discussion resources can prove to be a highly effective way to take team meetings to a deeper level and not only encourage, but expect, professional dialogue to include a high level of questioning, wondering aloud and looking for innovative solutions for students.
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