Conversations circled and it became clear that no one really knew the facts. It's best to focus in on facts first, and then build off of that. If we're all talking about conjecture, we're losing time, focus, and capacity.
I want to think about this kind of scenario more often as it is not a one-time event, but often educators can find themselves in the middle of conversations where there's a need for clarity, good process, and apt communication.
How can I contribute to fact-based conversations, and good communication? What can I do?
For example, our team will discuss reading progress soon. The reading specialist will clearly share a chart of facts--facts about reading fluency, comprehension, and growth. We'll study the facts, and then discuss additional observations and experiences. Then we'll set some goals and identify teaching strategy and efforts to come. This is an example of a good process that begins with facts.
We'll also discuss a school wide decision, and as we discuss the decision, I'll be listening for the facts, facts such as what is the legal expectation with regard to this problem and what are the legal options. What are the benefits of each option with regard to time, cost, and service to children given the time of year, educators' time/energy, family plans, and schedules/efforts already in place. Clear communication of the facts first will lead the conversation in a positive direction.
Good process, transparency, clear communication, and planning creates the opportunity for good decision making and collaboration to occur. I want to support this kind of effort in my own work in the days to come.