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Active Reviewing Tips 2.2   No Questions Asked

Active Reviewing Tips for Dynamic Experiential Learning
Active Reviewing Tips 2.2 No Questions Asked
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ISSN 1465-8046
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~ ~ A C T I V E . R E V I E W I N G . T I P S
~ ~ the free monthly newsletter associated with the
~ ~ 'GUIDE TO ACTIVE REVIEWING' <http://reviewing.co.uk>
~ ~ Editor: Roger Greenaway < roger@reviewing.co.uk>
~ ~ Vol. 2.2 February 1999
~ ~ No Questions Asked + Revolver
~ ~ Subscribers: 242 - a special welcome to new list members

~~~ From the editor: No Questions Asked ~~~~
Many review sessions in active learning seem to follow this default pattern:
1) The activity, exercise, simulation or other experience comes to a finishing point.
2) The reviewer asks questions to those involved - to prompt discussion.
3) The review session is ended by the clock, or when interest disappears, or when future action has been agreed.
Suppose facilitators were expected to facilitate reviewing *without* asking questions. What would they do instead? And what would learners do?
Yes I am questioning a questioning style of reviewing by asking questions about it (well spotted!). But let's imagine the rule:
I don't just want to say "Yes questioning skills are very important but so are many others".
I want to show why NOT ASKING QUESTIONS is a really good idea.
I want to suggest that there are many ways in which facilitator questions are counter-productive and un-facilitative.
I want to suggest that many question-led review sessions are poorly planned events.
I want to suggest that facilitators ask questions when they don't know what else to do.
I want to show how facilitators steal 'learning' cycles from learners and turn them into 'training' cycles and 'planning' cycles.
I want to suggest that question-led reviews rarely produce
sufficient 'involvement' to count as good use of learning time. I am thinking especially about learners who remain on the sidelines of such sessions - learners who are un-stirred by someone else's agenda or sequence of questions (however 'soundly' based on someone else's theory).
What are the indications that questioning is not working and that an alternative approach is needed? Without an effective way of monitoring the effectiveness of questioning, you will get stuck with questions. One shot facilitation.
Most of the time questions are NOT necessary. What is necessary much of the time is FACILITATING. By not asking questions, we increase our chances of discovering, creating and using some of the many other strategies and methods that can assist facilitation.
I have still not dug deep enough. Because so far my argument is little more than a suggestion that questions are probably the most common reviewing method and a method that facilitators often default to. But if the default pattern is working OK, why change it? Why explore and develop alternatives? Why not simply develop your questioning skills and use more and better questions?
Your challenge is to try facilitating a reviewing session without asking any questions. It can be done! And it can be more effective. Try it and see. If you don't know where to start, visit http://reviewing.co.uk for ideas or view the Active Reviewing Tips Archives at http://reviewing.co.uk/archives/index.htm or try 'Revolver' - this month's Active Reviewing Tip (next).
What are your favourite alternatives to asking questions? Write in to roger@reviewing.co.uk - you have a ready-made audience
looking for answers!

~~~ Reviewing Tips ~~~
'REVOLVER' works so well that I use it in most of my reviewing skills training workshops. I invented it about 10 years ago after a game of co-operative basketball that was inspired by Terry Orlick's 'Co-operative Sports and Games Book'. (Basketball also has Scottish-Canadian origins.) Each time I use this method participants come up with new variations and applications.
Why is 'Revolver' such a winner?
The fact that people keep changing their positions (both physical and attitudinal) has something to do with it. So does the freedom that the simple structure allows - freedom to explore and express different views.
What are the benefits?
# It's fun! (and a good way to explore serious topics.)
# It works with all ages.
# Participants join in on different sides of a debate and (at least temporarily) unfreeze from their fixed positions on an issue.
# Better mutual understanding
# A more 'all-round' perspective of the experience # Participants learn (something about) what it is like to be in other people's shoes
What is it?
Revolver is a way of organising a discussion that enable learners to explore an issue from 2 (or more) sides.
How does it work?
# The two sides (chosen arbitrarily) sit opposite each other in chairs arranged in semi-circles.
# Each semi-circle of chairs represents an opposing view about the chosen issue.
# Every 30 - 60 seconds, everyone stands and moves round one place.
# No-one has to speak, but when you do speak you must express a view that fits the 'side' of the debate you are sitting on.
There is a page at http://reviewing.co.uk/discuss/discuss2.htm that
goes through some of the finer points of 'Revolver' (e.g. on the role of the judge, and variations). If you prefer learning by doing then enquire about reviewing skills training workshops from roger@reviewing.co.uk :-)
A dynamic combination
The downside of 'Revolver' is that people may not know what each other's true position is at the end of a 'Revolver' discussion. Participants are often interested to see if (and how) each other's views have changed. This can be quickly achieved by using 'Positions' before and after 'Revolver'. Everyone is invited to stand on a spectrum that joins the two opposing views. Positions was described in Active Reviewing Tips 1.3 which is now archived at: http://reviewing.co.uk/archives/art/1_3.htm 

~~~ Site News: Roger's Bookshop ~~~
If you have been wondering how you can say THANK YOU for this
free newsletter and you never quite get round to sending in tips,
links, feedback, comments, articles etc. there's now another way
you can help - by being a *helper* or *customer* at Roger's
Bookshop (in association with Amazon.co.uk).
To be a HELPER, please recommend books to include on the virtual
bookshelves. If you can write a few lines about why you are
recommending them, so much the better. I am looking for books
that you think would be of interest to readers of this ezine -
'classics' or recent titles.
So far I only have some of my own books and a few best-sellers
for sale directly from my site. But the plan is to gradually
build up a collection of titles that are recommended and reviewed
by me and by you.
To be a CUSTOMER, just visit http://reviewing.co.uk/bookshop/index.htm and
browse. Why visit a bookshop with only a handful of books in it?
As well as the benefits mentioned above you get access to
the WHOLE of the amazon.co.uk catalogue and ANY books you buy
from amazon.co.uk via any amazon link at http://reviewing.co.uk
brings a little income to your friendly editor :-)

~~~~ Future Issues: INTERVIEWS ~~~~
Here is a real opportunity to share some personal insights about
reviewing and to learn from each other.
This is the interview structure I will be using.
Answer one or more of these questions as briefly or as fully as
you like.
# One of my favourite examples of reviewing is ...
# One of my concerns about reviewing is that ...
# I like to improve my reviewing skills by ...
# The miracle reviewing technique would ....
Please copy and paste your responses into a new message and send
it to: < roger@reviewing.co.uk>
State clearly whether you want to be anonymous or if you would
like your name and address included.
~~~~ Other Websites and Ezines ~~~~
Short of space and ideas this month - recommendations welcome
(from me and the 241 other list members!)
Write to < roger@reviewing.co.uk>

~~~~ NEXT ISSUE: 'ARTips 2.3 Therapy for All' ~~~~
What do music, art, play, exercise, adventure, drama, brief,
group, narrative, recreational, psycho- and solution-focused have
in common? All are therapies brimming over with ideas for active
reviewing. More next month! Contributions welcome.

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 INDEX to reviewing.co.uk - resources for dynamic learning
 How to find your way around reviewing.co.uk
Copyright Roger Greenaway, Reviewing Skills Training, who promotes ACTIVE LEARNING via