Meetings Because We’ve Always Had Them

Photo Credit: markhillary

Catching up on my blog reading lately. I ran across this great post by Ryan Bretag. As usual, he challenges one to consider why we do what we do. Are we doing it just because we always have done it that way? Sometimes, that is okay. Many times, it’s not. Consider his take on meetings:

Meetings are not all bad – quite the opposite. Good ones are focused on
organizational progress based upon legitimate dialogue and discussion
that enhance instruction and lead to greater student success. However,
those meetings that fall outside this scope waste the creative and
intellectual capacity of the very people expected to use such strengths
as instructional leaders. Those meetings block creativity,
brainstorming, wonder, play, risk-taking, and innovation.

I cannot agree with him more. We’ve all sat in and led those same types of meetings. Nowadays, we have technology at our fingertips to take care of the menial, informational, one way communication. Why make everyone come together for that again? And again. And again.

Ryan offers up this challenge:

Set the Tone

… I challenge those that structure “All Faculty Meetings” to
consider these as community learning, celebrating, and growing
opportunities. Do not treat these as a time for one person after another
to stand in front of a large group sharing information. Instead, I
encourage you to consider the following:

  1. Create an agenda that does not include any one-way information delivery outside of a motivational/inspirational opening (brief)
  2. Establish activities that ignite the interests and passions of
    faculty, that challenge mindsets and frames of reference, and that spark
    dialogue and discussion well beyond the time spent together
  3. Send an email that includes the agenda, any one-way information, and
    Ignite Prompts that get people into a learning frame of mind
  4. Utilize the opportunities as a community to push to new levels, to begin breaking the boundaries that are stifling progress
  5. Provide times and opportunities to extend these starting points
  6. Seek feedback from faculty on the effectiveness of faculty meetings
    and what could be done to create stronger learning opportunities

In other words, think outside the box in your planning. Pretend for a minute that you really want everyone’s input. Pretend that your entire staff is energized and passionate about offering feedback to make things better. Pretend that every meeting you you hold ends with mountains of beneficial input from the folks that it directly affects.  Prepare as if these things are true. Because if you pretend these things are true, and you prepare as if they are true, then you just might find them coming to reality. Can you imagine the power of those meetings?

Now excuse me while I go rework the agenda for my district technology committee.

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