In October, Sustaining the Journey addressed some typical first questions asked as participants learn the power of Cognitive CoachingSM. This month, we address a few of the typical questions that are asked as participants begin to understand and embrace the principles and tenets of Adaptive Schools.
How do I encourage fearful group members to speak up?
One of the structures for successful meetings in Adaptive Schools is to develop standards, including balancing participation. In our training, we teach a variety of strategies for balancing participation. Some of those are Stir the Classroom, Think-Pair-Share, and Grounding. There are many others listed on the Thinking Collaborative website under Strategies.
Engaged participants and a group’s facilitator should be intentionally monitoring participation. Balanced participation does not mean everyone speaks equally; instead it means everyone has an equal opportunity to speak. If a person is silent, anyone can invite participation from that member. It might be as simple as saying, “I’d like to hear from ______ about this issue because we haven’t heard from him/her. A facilitator might say, “We’ve heard from 4 of the 5 of you (notice the offering of non-judgmental data). I would like to invite the thoughts from ________.” Any group member can also offer data in a debrief about levels of participation.
Some groups actually collect data about how often each member talks. This data can be offered at the end of a meeting for reflection on how the group is balancing participation.