A pause to reflect on the decision-making process our school working party has embarked on. Meeting on a weekly basis means it is easy for the week to slip by and not get any thoughts down.
Our first meeting involved only Step One – Mind-Setting (which needs to occur before the situation can be properly defined). It was very enlightening to get everyone’s perception of the problem/situation on to the table. Like the story of the blind men describing the elephant, it was important for everyone to see what everyone else assumed they were talking about. There was recognition of the complexity of the issue and that many were only considering one aspect of it. There was recognition that perhaps only symptoms of the actual situation had been dealt with in the past and so the actions were not successful. The picture became clearer as each member spoke around the circle and the the situation gained a seriousness it hadn’t had before; it became obvious that quick answers would not ‘fix it’ but that good decisions were possible.
The idea of information under-girding each step is one that I will have to further reinforce. We have talked about our feelings but now will need facts to base decisions on.
The most difficult aspect of the first meeting was for members to keep solutions out of the conversation when talking of their perceptions. I must be more strict about them not being verbalised at this point. I don’t want shortcuts to bias any definitions or criteria.
Just an interesting observation, but one I will address at the next meeting, is that of eye contact. I was surprised to see each member of the group when sharing their perceptions did not look at the group but spent the majority of the time making eye contact with me, the facilitator. I wonder if this is a hangover from ‘old school days’ when the student always addressed the teacher not the class’. Even the teachers in the working party did it. I tried to non-verbally encourage people to address the group by looking round at the group myself as each spoke, but that didn’t work. I’ll have to say directly.