Greenaway's Active Reviewing Tips 9.2 ~ ISSN 1465-8046
A free monthly publication from Reviewing Skills Training
ARTips 9.2 Reviewing for All: lively and democratic learning
~ 1 ~ EDITORIAL: Reviewing for _?
~ 2 ~ ARTICLE: Reviewing for All: How to Include Everyone
~ 3 ~ CHECKLIST: Reviewing for All Checklist
~ 4 ~ DYNAMIC DEBRIEFING: The Role of the Facilitator
~ 5 ~ EVENTS: Open Workshops
~ 6 ~ CALENDAR: Facilitation Skills Training Events
~ 7 ~ ACTIVE LEARNING BOOKSHOP
~ 8 ~ NEXT ISSUE: Reviewing for Teams
The previous issue 'Reviewing for Results' is now at
|~ 1 ~
EDITORIAL: REVIEWING FOR ____?
This issue of Active Reviewing Tips is the fourth in a series:
1. Reviewing for Development
2. Reviewing for Fun
3. Reviewing for Results
4. Reviewing for All (this issue)
5. Reviewing for Team Building (next issue)
I am not sure how long this 'Reviewing for ...' theme will continue. Possibly forever (!) given the limitless ways in which we can learn from experience, and the unending variety of purposes for which we encourage people to take part in experience-based learning. My aim is to keep to core themes that will appeal to most readers most of the time.
If you would like to see a reviewing topic that is closer to your own heart, please suggest one. You might then find that the next issue is even more central to your own interests.
What would make you think of a future issue as 'Reviewing for Me' or (a bit less snappy) 'Reviewing for the People I Work With'?
My contact details are at the end of this ezine.
By sending me an email 5 things will happen:
1. You will feel the benefit of switching from passive to active.
2. You will get a personal reply.
3. You will influence what appears in Active Reviewing Tips.
4. Active Reviewing Tips will be even more useful and inspiring.
5. You make someone happy.
Who would have thought that one email could achieve so much?
Please put it to the test.
I look forward to hearing from you.
~ 2 ~ REVIEWING FOR ALL: HOW TO INCLUDE EVERYONE
This article applies mainly to facilitating reviews in group settings. Some points also apply to reviewing alone or in pairs.
Reviewing is for everyone. We all do it. It is how we learn, grow and develop. Unfortunately facilitated reviews can readily slide into default patterns that accentuate inequality - despite the facilitator's genuine commitment to working in an inclusive way.
A common default is driven by the so-called '80/20 principle'. It appears to take charge in reviews when 20% of the people are doing 80% of the talking. You will find ideas in this article that will help you to brush aside such default patterns and establish a more participatory learning climate.
With astute facilitation, unhelpful 'default patterns' are avoidable. But they can persist because of two pervasive habits:
1) The habit of asking questions to the group.
2) The habit of making it up as you go along.
Of course you need to be skilled at asking questions, BUT most groups will quickly establish a pecking order that is difficult to change with questioning skills alone.
Of course you should be responsive and flexible (and make decisions as you go along), BUT it can be very difficult to improvise inclusive reviewing methods. Improvised reviews tend to reinforce established patterns - unless you already have plenty of 'Reviewing for All' methods, strategies and principles up your sleeve.
ASKING OPEN QUESTIONS
Closed questions tend to produce short answers such as 'yes', 'no' or 'um'. This quickly results in a pattern in which the questioner does 99% of the talking. So the usual recommendation is to ask 'open' questions. In my view this common sense wisdom does not go far enough. Open questions do have a better chance of producing longer answers. But WHO answers these questions?
The chances are that the least reflective people in the group answer first - while the most reflective people are still ... reflecting. Which is a shame, because reviews should encourage reflection rather than instant responses.
The facilitator should have a strategy (or two) that favours participation from the MOST reflective people in the group. Arguably, asking open questions to the group favours responses from the LEAST reflective people.
This is a strategy that evens things up a bit between the most and least reflective people in the group. It is a strategy that is designed into many techniques that I have developed. It is most obvious in the 'Horseshoe' technique:
1: Each person places themselves at a point on a curved spectrum to show 'where they stand' on the issue in question.
2. Everyone talks to a neighbour about why they have chosen that position. This first conversation helps to clarify viewpoints with a listener who holds similar views.
ALL. Everyone is asked to look at the overall pattern and at individual positions. The facilitator asks: "Does anyone have any questions they would like to ask to others?"
What usually happens is that the most outspoken people ask the first questions. This reverses the typical dynamic that results from the facilitator asking questions to the group. You now have the louder participants asking questions and showing an interest in others (rather than giving answers), and the quieter, more reflective people have had time to prepare their answers with a friendly neighbour.
1-2-ALL develops new skills and habits for both quieter and louder group members. Its equalising principles help to establish the norm that reviewing is 'for all' and not just for those who are quick to answer. It also encourages reflection by all before entering into a whole group process.
I find that this is a far more successful process than simply directing questions towards quieter people - a strategy that often does more to accentuate the problem.
Priming group discussion with paired discussion is the '2-ALL' part of the process. Providing some individual thinking time before getting into pairs is the '1-2' part of the process. The full pattern of '1-2-ALL' brings previously unheard voices into group discussion. And these new voices are often the more reflective ones - producing greater learning for all.
'1-2-ALL' is just one way of encouraging broader participation. Even mature groups can benefit from this strategy as it provides an accelerated start to discussions. Guided Reflection is an alternative way of starting 1-2-ALL. (Also see ALL-2-1 later.)
BUILDING A GROUP FOR EACH INDIVIDUAL
In some programmes, group forming comprises a sequence of ritual activities in which each person is treated much the same. The sense of togetherness is created by each person taking part in group activities that are fun, physical, challenging and even a bit 'silly'. People sense strong pressure to conform and join in because it is safer to conform than to say 'no' in a new group. This kind of process can get groups off to a flying start. But what of individuals?
I once worked on programmes where the very first activity was a fire drill that involved climbing out of a window and descending on a rope. This all seemed to work very well until one day a woman with more than the usual fear of heights failed at this very first challenge. It was the worst possible start for her. She instantly experienced being the outsider and the odd one out: she was the only person to be experiencing fear and failure. This was quite a lot for her to cope with - and this all happened BEFORE a supportive group had been established.
I switched. My next programme began with 'Lifelines'. No trust activities. No silliness. No organised fun. Lifelines gave everyone the chance to prepare and tell a story about themselves that they were happy to reveal to a group of strangers with whom they were going to spend the next few days. They were reflecting aloud on past experiences and learning about each other's values and what made each other person 'tick'.
In some ways Lifelines is an even riskier kind of group-building (especially if it turns into a competition about who has suffered most). What really matters is that you think carefully about the kinds of values that you want a group to adopt in its early stages. Listening attentively to everyone else is a useful starting point for any (smallish) group and is an essential habit for the success of any group review. With Lifelines (or similar) you start with a review exercise that includes everyone. What better way to get across the 'Reviewing for All' message that reviewing matters and each individual matters?
Exercises like Lifelines generate groups that are interested in each individual member. I have grown to prefer this deeper kind of group building, but I accept that some groups benefit from a more playful start before they are ready to listen to each other.
Rounds (or 'Go-Rounds') provide an almost perfect image of 'Reviewing for All' because everyone gets an opportunity to answer the same question or complete the same sentence or simply to speak. But the REALITY is that Rounds often turn out to be dull, repetitive and superficial. In practice, Rounds are useful for quick checks - and that is about all.
The challenge is to design reviewing methods that involve everyone AND maintain energy and interest AND are flexible enough to allow participants to pursue what interests them. So if you are using Rounds to get everyone involved, it is helpful to follow Rounds with some more flexible, energising and adventurous reviewing methods.
A PREFERENCE FOR CHOCOLATE?
My preference for chocolate does not mean that I do not also enjoy other foods. I think much the same way about learning style preferences. Is a preference for chocolate a 'weakness' or a 'strength'?
In every group of people you will find a variety of learning style preferences. For example, some people might enjoy 'Rounds' because it guarantees them the same opportunity to speak as everyone else, and others might like 'Rounds' because it gives them a regular opportunity to hear from everyone else. But more confident or creative or freedom-loving people can be irritated by the constraints of such structured techniques.
Such differences are often explained by the variety of learning style preferences that you will find in any group. But in my experience, people's preferences change very quickly. Activity eventually leads to a preference for rest, and rest eventually leads to a preference for activity. A spell of structure creates an appetite for freedom (and vice versa). Intense group experiences create the desire for some time alone (and vice versa). After helping someone else you may think it is time for others to help you.
So if your goal is 'Reviewing for All', there are at least two good reasons why a variety of reviewing methods can help you achieve this goal: one is to ensure that you include all learning style preferences that exist in your group, and the other is to be aware that even stronger preferences arise from the urge for contrast to what has just been happening.
Choosing a contrasting reviewing method is rarely straightforward because each method has many different dimensions in which a contrast could be made. After a review in pairs a contrast might be reviewing alone or reviewing with the whole group. If the paired review was chosen by the facilitator, a contrast would be for pairs to choose what happens next. If pairs were talking about the past, a contrast would be talking about the present or the future. If pairs were talking, a contrast would be a visual reviewing method. Another contrast would be to raise or lower the level of difficulty, or to move from outdoors to indoors (or vice versa), or to change pairs, or to change roles within pairs. This approach recognise that preferences change minute by minute: everyone responds well to a stimulating variety of reviewing styles.
If given genuine choice, people choose a varied and healthy diet, not just chocolate. 'Reviewing for All' involves developing a preference for a healthy variety of learning methods - while weaning people away from over-dependence on one kind of learning.
PASS THE CHOCOLATE
During a group discussion put a plate of chocolates in the middle and create the rule that each time a person wants to speak they put a chocolate in their mouth. This initially creates plenty of incentive to participate, but eventually the most frequent speakers slow down a bit. To reach this later stage you may need to have a plentiful supply. The precise effect is not guaranteed, but however far you take it, it is a fun way of equalising contributions that sticks in the group's memory - and all over their fingers ;-)
Check on allergies and any 'healthy eating' concerns before choosing what goes on the plate - or just have a mixture of (un)suitable food on the plate. To help discussion flow a little better (and to keep 'full up' people involved) you can allow people to say up to 5 words at a time without taking a chocolate. In this exercise it would be missing the point if rules are applied too strictly.
THE INCLUSIVE DIAMOND: EVERY ANGLE MATTERS
The Active Reviewing Cycle
follows the sequence: diamonds (facts), hearts (feelings and intuition), spades (findings), clubs (futures). A Joker in the centre represents freedom.
The diamond is the first stage. Each side of the diamond represents a different perspective on the experience being reviewed. If it is a group experience then each side of the diamond could represent each member of the group. At the start of a review what is shared from each perspective might be quite basic - such as impressions, assumptions, or perceptions. Even sharing at this level can be newsworthy if it brings out new or surprising information.
The sharing of different perspectives is equally important at other stages of a review, but its importance is emphasised at the beginning of the cycle because it sets an precedent for the rest of the review: when reviewing is for all, everyone's perspective matters. Right from the start.
The usual default facilitation style is much less inclusive. Only when the regular contributors have finished are the 'others' asked if they have anything to say. This common default is readily avoided if everyone is asked to contribute briefly at the start of a review. This creates a greater chance that all speakers will subsequently take all views into account - producing a richer and more inclusive review.
Wherever participants lack confidence in speaking up, it is important to make it easy to take part in the early stages of a review. Once that threshold of participation is crossed, it is easier to contribute next time around.
WIIFM: WHAT'S IN IT FOR ME?
Each person may be privately asking themselves 'What's in it for me?' and sitting back and playing 'wait and see'. Until the review gets going they don't really know if it is going to benefit them in any way. This passive 'wait and see' approach is more likely to happen when participants have little or no responsibility and are simply waiting for someone else to make it worthwhile.
One solution is to involve participants in the planning of the review. This can be done in advance with participants declaring before the activity (or before the review) what topics or questions they wish to explore. The facilitator can act as consultant suggesting ways in which participants' learning goals can best be achieved in a review.
As a facilitator you can suggest a ground rule that encourages anyone at any time to ask 'What's in it for me?' This could of course be very disruptive and selfish, but done in the right spirit such a ground rule gives encouragement to those who feel neglected or bored in a review to speak up and work with the facilitator (and others) to find a way of making it 'Reviewing for All'.
REVIEWING FOR HEARTS AND MINDS
A review strategy for engaging MINDS might involve listing all the issues, topics or questions that people want to explore, prioritising them and then working through them. I don't know about you, but this kind of process may start full of promise, but after a while my HEART is not in it, and then my MIND is not in it - whatever the topic.
A review that engages the HEART is a review that appeals at many different levels and meets many different needs. This typically involves paying attention to the here and now and to what the reviewing process feels like for each participant. The HEART prompts questions such as:
Do I belong here?
Does this feel good?
Do people care about me?
Am I listened to?
Am I respected?
Am I valued by others?
Can I be me?
Is this fun?
Is this exciting?
Is this what I want?
Is there something in this for all of us?
Do we have the power to make this work for us?
Do I have the opportunity to make this work for me?
These questions are based on some of the development needs listed in my article 'Reviewing for Development': http://reviewing.co.uk/articles/reviewing-for-development.htm
By using a variety of reviewing processes that appeal to both HEARTS and MINDS you make reviewing more engaging and inclusive. This helps to achieve 'Reviewing for All'.
FEELING AT HOME
In events where there is an alternation between activities and reviews, it is possible that some people will feel most at home in reviews while others feel most at home in activities. Other people may not feel at home in either.
The ideal to strive for is to create a group climate that supports learning and development both during activities and reviews. Ask people what is helping or hindering their learning and development in the group. If such a question does not lead to instant improvement, it should at least bring out some useful ideas for creating a group that becomes a better place to be.
First and foremost everyone must feel at home in the group - seeing it as a place where they feel safe and where their needs are met (especially in reviews). Enlist their help and ideas for making the group a better place to be and a better place to learn. But see 'Comfy Chair' (next) for another view.
NO, NO, NOT THE COMFY CHAIR!
In a Monty Python comedy sketch, the 'comfy chair' was one of the most feared forms of torture. So perhaps a 'comfort zone' is a form of torture for those who prefer adventure and living on the edge? Too much comfort can stifle learning and change. This is yet another balance that needs to be carefully maintained if you want to achieve 'Reviewing for All'. If people find reviewing too challenging they may react in a negative way; and those who want more challenge in review sessions may also react negatively - even if they do not shout out 'NO, NO, NOT THE COMFY REVIEW!.
We seem to readily accept that each person may have an adventure threshold in physically challenging activities. We should also try to be aware of each person's adventure threshold in reviews - especially because it is around this threshold that significant learning happens. Discomfort is not necessary for learning, but it is often associated with more profound learning, especially where 'unlearning' has to make way for new learning.
BEING COMFORTABLE IN THE STRETCH ZONE
If you want to achieve 'Reviewing for All', then look through your reviewing toolkit and at your programme and anticipate which reviewing sessions are going to be most stretching (and most significant) for participants.
One kind of reviewing that is frequently challenging for participants and facilitators alike is when giving and receiving feedback. Another kind of review that is often challenging is when presentation or performance is part of the reviewing process.
One of the secrets of success in this area is to ensure that learners are well prepared for the big challenges by building up their skills with smaller challenges. This means planning a progression in your reviews, and having some communication with learners about the pace of this progression. Learners themselves are often the best judges of the level of challenge that will be most worthwhile. By giving learners a say you are more likely to provide the right kind of stretch. This also gives learners a chance to buy in to the process and makes it less likely that they will drop out.
In most groups there is a strong sense of fairness. The occasional use of turn-taking techniques can serve as useful reminders of the fact that each person's contribution is valued and that 'reviewing is for all'. But over-use of turn-taking techniques does not give you the chance to discover the group's actual commitment to this value. Groups will only support structures and routines that they feel are necessary. Structures like turn-taking are temporary enabling measures. Used too much they become stifling and disabling. Facilitation is a dynamic art: so don't make routines too permanent. [This point is explored further in the extract from Dynamic Debriefing below.]
Make it easy for a participant to say ''Stop'' or ''This isn't working for me''. Without an easy way of saying ''stop'', participants may suffer in silence (while feeling that reviewing is not 'for all') or they may disrupt the process in ways that are even more challenging for the facilitator. A 'stop' signal is an early warning that something isn't working well. It is better to pick up an early warning than it is to get the message later on - when a participant may have been experiencing discomfort or exclusion for some time.
How can you best respond to a stop signal? You may want to think through some basic options in advance. However you respond you will no doubt want to show gratitude - but without overdoing it. You will also not want to make a mountain out of a molehill - so try to assess the situation quickly by quietly asking the person why they have requested a stop.
You will usually want to respond to the 'stop' request straight away. Occasionally it is better to offer to deal with the request later (such as by putting it in the 'Parking Lot' - see below).
You also need to decide who should solve the problem - the requester, the group or yourself or all of you together. Don't expect the requester to solve the problem unless they are using the 'stop' signal to announce their solution. On the other hand, don't assume that the problem is yours to solve.
What do you use for a 'request stop' signal? I'll leave that one to you.
CHALLENGE BY CHOICE - IN REVIEWS
'Challenge by Choice' is a trademarked term from Project Adventure. It is a principle that is applied to activities rather than to reviews. It underlines the participant's right to opt out. The right to opt out should, in my view, be in place throughout the whole process, including reviews. The more challenging your reviews become, the more important it is to explain how participants can opt out during the review.
Making it easy for people to opt out ultimately encourages 'Reviewing for All' because if it is not reasonably easy for people to opt out they may suffer in silence, and the appearance of 'Reviewing for All' is illusory.
OPT OUT OPTIONS
Here are some examples:
* WARM SEAT: The person in the warm seat receiving feedback can leave the seat at any time. As soon as they leave it the feedback stops. This rule gives the receiver a 'temperature control'. If the seat gets too hot for them, they leave the seat and stop the feedback. Simply knowing they have control makes the warm seat feel much safer.
* HORSESHOE: On some issues people may not have an opinion, or may not wish to express an opinion, or may even object to the group discussing a particular issue. The Horseshoe is a curved line representing a range of opinions between the two defined ends. People can show where they stand on an issue by placing themselves at a chosen point on the Horseshoe. By providing a 'no comment' position in the gap between the two ends, you can make opting out a little easier. I recently defended the right of silence for a person who chose the 'no comment' position when he was challenged by others to 'explain' his position.
OPTING OUT: A WELCOME EARLY WARNING SIGN
Participants may choose to opt out using the procedures you have carefully set up. But the real opting out is when they may opt out of your opt out procedures and just opt out in their own way! This is a very clear signal that you are not achieving 'Reviewing for All'! If you can engage opters-out in a conversation and listen carefully to their point of view, the chances are that this conversation itself is a worthwhile review whether or not you can use it as a basis for negotiating changes that will make people want to opt back in.
In my experience, these conversations around the edges are in the zone where a lot of critical reviewing work can happen. What is being reviewed in these conversations is likely to be the experience of reviewing itself - and the fundamental purpose of the whole event. What better way to develop your reviewing skills! You can even apply the reviewing cycle to the problem so that you bring out the relevant facts, feelings and findings on the way to creating a solution.
People who opt out of a large group process can respond very favourably to much the same process if they are in smaller groups getting more attention and feeling more able to participate. Personalisation works!
The 'Parking Lot' is a display board (or similar) where issues for reviewing later are recorded. If used well, the Parking Lot helps to achieve 'Reviewing for All' by ensuring that issues important to participants do not get forgotten. Parking Lot is an agenda-setting process that is 'always on' and continually available. It is a Parking Lot in which there are always spaces!
If used badly, Parking Lot becomes a way of avoiding issues rather than addressing them. But it can give you (and participants) valuable thinking time about the issues and how best to review them.
The Parking Lot typically focuses on topics and not on processes. A growing agenda of topics does not necessarily mean that everyone wants to sit through a long review meeting. This is where your skill in designing and facilitating active reviews comes in.
Working with agendas created by participants does help to ensure 'Reviewing for All', but unless you use inclusive and participatory methods for exploring the topics you will find that despite the relevance of the topic, not everyone is buying into the process. This is where the Stop Signal (see above) can help. If anyone is dissatisfied with the process (including yourself) you can stop the process and seek a better way of conducting the review: one that involves both hearts and minds.
This is a highly participatory way of getting through a long agenda. Pairs or small groups carry out a survey, each specialising in one of the agenda items. They collate results and report back to the whole group. You need to do the maths carefully in advance to ensure that you set suitable time limits to achieve the whole process in the time available (for the survey, collation, report back and any subsequent discussion).
Simultaneous Survey exemplifies 'Reviewing for All' because it allows for everyone to be consulted on all issues, it involves everyone in responsible roles, and everyone gets to hear the result of each survey. It is difficult not to take everyone's views into account in any discussion that follows.
You may resist doing mid-way evaluations if you think it will take up too much time 'off-task' or if you think learners will find it dull and uninteresting. But a mid-programme evaluation helps to ensure that you are 'on-task' and 'on-track' for each individual. And there is no reason for it to be dull. You can readily turn any evaluation form into a Simultaneous Survey, for example, and if you are not careful the evaluation becomes more fun and participatory than what was happening before ;-) The evaluation questions I use for this process are at:
Each person in the group pairs up with another. Each is responsible for supporting the other person's learning. The existence of such relationships in a group ensures that everyone has at least one person in the group supporting their learning. The support can take the form of listening, clarifying, encouraging, observing, representing or giving feedback. The facilitator will usually give specific instructions to learning buddies that are suited to the particular activity or review.
'Learning Buddies' shares the benefits common to most paired work:
- no-one gets left out
- reviewing is personalised for each individual
- paired reviews prime group reviews.
In addition, the roles (of buddy and learner) are regularly reversed, with learners developing skills both as learners and as facilitators for each other's learning. Developing the habit of reciprocity in pairs makes it easier to develop this value in the group as a whole - making the group a place where everyone gives and gets.
ALWAYS NEW PAIRS
In 'Learning Buddies' participants are guaranteed at least one buddy, but in the 'Always New' version, participants eventually get to be learning buddies with everyone else. Clearly some pairings will work better than others, so 'Always New Pairs' helps to ensure that no pairs get stuck as 'learning buddies' in name only.
A potential downside of 'Always New Pairs' is that there is not enough time for pairs to 'settle in' and learn well with each other. So, if using this system, it is up to you to judge when learning buddies should stay together and when they should change partners.
TOOLS FOR PARTICIPANTS
Making participants more skilled in reviewing is a key strategy for achieving 'Reviewing for All'. This way of thinking is unlikely to happen if 'reviewing skills' are associated entirely with the facilitator's own skills. If you see your job as developing learning skills then it is clearly helpful to give learners a range of reviewing tools and develop their skills in using them.
For example, 'visual aids' are traditionally seen as aids used by the teacher or trainer to communicate to learners. But in much reviewing, the greatest value of visual aids is to place them in the hands of learners - to help learners communicate what they have to say. If you want to achieve 'Reviewing for All' then ensure you have a suitable range of tools. And train participants to use them well.
In the description of 1-2-ALL above, the emphasis was on ensuring that everyone is involved early on in the reviewing process. It can be just as important to ensure that each person leaves the review with something of value such as:
- a lesson learned
- a treasured moment
- a better relationship
- a question to explore, or
- a commitment to action
You can achieve this personalisation at the end of a review by asking pairs to discuss what they want to take with them from the review (or from the experience under review). Individuals are encouraged to record their answers and/or speak them to the group.
SOMETHING OF VALUE
The ALL-2-1 sequence can be enacted in many ways. One good option is to ask participants to find an object or picture representing 'something of value' from the review. Each person explains their choice to a partner, and then everyone explains their partner's choice to the whole group.
If using picture postcards these can be left on display on a sticky wall as visible reminders of what each person found to be of value. At the end of the event people may wish to take photos of pictures or symbolic objects that have taken on a special meaning for them (unless they are able to take the originals away as souvenirs).
WHO SPEAKS FOR YOU?
One of the benefits of reviewing in groups is that some people put into words what others struggle to express. The more eloquent and outspoken people in a group can be doing others a favour even when they are dominating the conversation. If I suspect this is happening, I like to check whether or not it really is happening.
If different views are being expressed I will ask the 2, 3 or 4 most outspoken people to place themselves an equal distance apart in a suitable pattern (2 people would be at each end of a Horseshoe; 3 people would be at each point of a triangle; 4 people would be at each corner of a square). I then ask everyone else to stand closest to the spokesperson who most speaks for them. Somewhere you need to make an island for those who prefer to say ''No-one is speaking for me''. Which is clearly a cue for achieving 'Reviewing for All'.
LEARNING WITH ALL, BY ALL, FROM ALL, FOR ALL
The democratic principles behind 'Reviewing for All' could be represented by a group sitting in a circle. BUT in order to achieve 'Reviewing for All' it is important to break out of the circle and use methods that are more successful in giving individuals a voice and are better at supporting individual learning.
You can achieve a lot in a circle, but you can achieve a whole lot more if you move around a bit - which brings us back to my favourite them of 'Active Reviewing' for which you will have found some examples above. Many more details and examples are on my website at: http://reviewing.co.uk
~ 3 ~ REVIEWING FOR ALL: A CHECKLIST
This checklist will remind you of key points in the article above (and introduces a few new ones). These points are intended to help you create a more participatory learning climate in your review sessions.
* What default patterns take hold in your reviews that you would like to change?
* What is the normal pattern of participation in your reviews?
Do you ever find yourself talking more than you'd like to? Do you ever find yourself answering your own questions more than you'd like to?
* Do you ever catch yourself writing things on a flipchart for no particular reason?
* Do you ever wonder how you could get people more engaged in the reviewing process? [see...]
The questions you ask do matter, but the responses matter more. Be extra vigilant about who responds and who doesn't. Consider whether you need to change the way you ask questions or the way you use questions in your reviews. [see...]
This strategy provides an accelerated and more inclusive start to group discussion. Its essence is priming group discussion with paired discussion. [see...]
BUILDING A GROUP FOR EACH INDIVIDUAL
If your ice-breakers and energisers carry a strong message of conformity, don't be surprised if individuality gets submerged for some time. Ensure there are also early opportunities for the group to listen to individuals. 'Lifelines' is one of many such exercises. [see...]
Rounds are useful for quick checks and for giving everyone a brief chance to speak. Democratic: yes. Meaningful: unlikely. 'Reviewing for All' should be about increasing quality as well as increasing participation. [see...]
A PREFERENCE FOR CHOCOLATE?
1: Ensure that you include all learning style preferences that exist in your group.
2: Be aware of how preferences are often driven by people seeking a contrast to what has just been happening. (In practice, this second point is more actionable and more important than the first one.)
3. Develop a healthy range of learning preferences - expanding learners' diets rather than feeding them exclusively on chocolate. [see...]
THE INCLUSIVE DIAMOND: EVERY ANGLE MATTERS
The sharing of different perspectives is equally important at all stages of a review, but its importance is emphasised at the beginning of the cycle because it sets an precedent for the rest of the review: reviewing is for all - everyone's perspective matters. From the start. [see...]
WIIFM: WHAT'S IN IT FOR ME?
Encourage the question - right from the start.
Involve participants in the planning of the review. [see...]
REVIEWING FOR HEARTS AND MINDS
Use a variety of reviewing processes that appeal to both HEARTS and MINDS to make reviewing more engaging and inclusive. If you focus too much on MINDS, people lose HEART. Logical relevance is not enough - says the heart. [see...]
FEELING AT HOME
First and foremost everyone must feel at home in the group - seeing it as a place where they feel safe and where their needs and expectations are met. Enlist people's help and ideas for making it a better place to be, and a better place to learn. [see...]
NO, NO, NOT THE COMFY REVIEW!
The adventure threshold does not just apply to physically challenging activities. It also applies in reviews. It is around this threshold that the most significant learning happens. [see...]
BEING COMFORTABLE IN THE STRETCH ZONE
Build up gradually to the more challenging review processes (such as the giving and receiving of feedback). Plan a progression in your reviews, and communicate with learners about the optimum pace of this progression. [see...]
Groups will only support structures and routines that they feel are necessary. Structures like turn-taking are temporary enabling measures. Used too much they become stifling and disabling. [see...]
A 'stop' signal is an early warning that something isn't working well. It is better to pick up an early warning than it is to get the message later on - when a participant may have been experiencing discomfort or exclusion for some time. [see...]
CHALLENGE BY CHOICE - IN REVIEWS
The more challenging your reviews become, the more important it is to explain how participants can opt out during the review. [see...]
OPT OUT OPTIONS
Examples relating to Warm Seat (a feedback exercise) and Horseshoe (a classic example of the 1-2-ALL strategy). [see...]
OPTING OUT: A WELCOME EARLY WARNING SIGN
If people opt out, you can use the reviewing cycle as a problem-solving cycle by bringing out the relevant facts, feelings and findings on the way to creating a solution. In this way, opting out of a review can actually lead to more intensive reviewing. [see...]
The Parking Lot typically focuses on topics and not on processes. A growing agenda of topics does not necessarily mean that everyone wants to sit through a long review meeting. [see...]
Simultaneous Survey exemplifies 'Reviewing for All' because it allows for everyone to be consulted on all issues, it involves everyone in responsible roles, and everyone gets to hear the result of each survey. [see...]
A mid-programme evaluation helps to ensure that you are 'on-task' and 'on-track' for each individual. And there is no reason for it to be dull: you can readily turn any evaluation form into a Simultaneous Survey. [see...]
Each person in the group pairs up with another. Each is responsible for supporting the other person's learning. No-one gets lost or left out. [see...]
ALWAYS NEW PAIRS
Participants eventually get to be learning buddies with everyone else. [see...]
TOOLS FOR PARTICIPANTS
If you see your job as developing learning skills then it is clearly helpful to give learners a range of reviewing tools and develop their skills in using them. [see...]
You can achieve personalisation at the end of a review by asking pairs to discuss what they want to take with them from the review (or from the experience being reviewed). [see...]
SOMETHING OF VALUE
Ask participants to find an object or picture representing 'something of value' from the review. If they can't take it home, take a snapshot for a souvenir. [see...]
WHO SPEAKS FOR YOU?
The more eloquent and outspoken people in a group can be doing others a favour even when they are dominating the conversation. This is a participatory method for checking just how true (or false) this is. [see...]
LEARNING WITH ALL, BY ALL, FROM ALL, FOR ALL
You can achieve a lot in a circle, but you can achieve a whole lot more if you move around a bit! [see...]
Since writing this article I have frequently revisited the topic of engaging learners in reviewing - each time from a different perspective. These articles are brought together in
Active Reviewing Tips 12.2
~ 4 ~ DYNAMIC DEBRIEFING: THE ROLE OF THE FACILITATOR
Dynamic Debriefing is the title of the chapter I wrote for the 'Handbook of Experiential Learning' (Silberman, April 2007)
Part One is at <http://reviewing.co.uk/archives/art/9_1.htm>
Part Two (below) is about ...
THE ROLE OF THE FACILITATOR
Most experiential learning theory is clear about what learners do after their ''experience'': they reflect, interpret, and experiment. But experiential learning theory is less clear about what role (if any) facilitators should play in this process. The principles, strategies, and tactics of facilitation cannot be deduced from experiential learning theory alone: We also need a theory of facilitation. And preferably one that goes beyond the slogan that we should change from being the ''sage on the stage'' to become the ''guide on the side'' - because ''guiding'' is only one kind of facilitation.
John Heron, founder and director of the Human Potential Research Project, University of Surrey, provides a model of facilitation that sits well with the principles of experiential learning theory. It helps facilitators decide whether key decisions about facilitation should be made with or without consulting the group, or whether they should be left to the group to decide. Heron outlines potential problems with each of these three modes of decision making (hierarchical. cooperative, and autonomous), and he explains why it is important to move between them:
''Too much hierarchical control, and participants become passive and dependent or hostile and resistant. They wane in self-direction, which is the core of all learning. Too much cooperative guidance may degenerate into a subtle kind of nurturing oppression, and may deny the group the benefits of totally autonomous learning. Too much autonomy for participants and laissez-faire on your part, and they may wallow in ignorance, misconception, and chaos.'' (Heron, 1999, p. 9)
Heron applies these three modes of decision making to each of these six dimensions of facilitator style: planning, meaning, confronting, feeling, structuring, and valuing.
As an example of how this works, here is some further detail about the ''meaning'' dimension.
When in HIERARCHICAL mode in the meaning dimension, Heron writes: ''You make sense of what is going on for the group. You give meaning to events and illuminate them; you are the source of understanding what is going on.''
In the COOPERATIVE mode: ''You invite group members to participate with you in the generation of understanding. You prompt them to give their own meaning to what is happening in the group, then add your view, as one idea among others, and collaborate in making sense.''
In the AUTONOMOUS mode, writes Heron: ''You choose to delegate interpretation, feedback, and review to the group. Making sense of what is going on is autonomous, entirely self-generated within the group'' (Heron, 1999, p. 16).
An awareness of Heron’s model discourages the facilitator from settling down in a single favorite position for too long because the model shows that there are clear disadvantages with this kind of consistency. A facilitator who makes deliberate moves among these three modes of decision making also frees up learners to be more mobile and responsible in how they exercise and share power. Such mobility helps to make debriefing and learning more dynamic, versatile, and effective.
... to be continued in the next issue of Active Reviewing Tips
where you can learn about 'Models of Debriefing' - another
extract from my chapter on Dynamic Debriefing in Mel Silberman's
'Handbook of Experiential Learning' (2007). See Amazon.co.uk:
http://digbig.com/4rwnf or Amazon.com: http://digbig.com/4rwng
~ 5 ~ EVENTS: REVIEWING SKILLS TRAINING OPEN WORKSHOPS
There are rumours of:
* a Reviewing Skills Training event for outdoor educators (Scottish Highlands)
* a Reviewing Skills Training event for facilitators and trainers (Northern England)
* a Reviewing Skills Training event for facilitators and trainers (Central London - March 2008 - see below)
* Reviewing Skills Training events for facilitators and trainers
(Copenhagen, January 2008 - see below)
* and I am providing a workshop on 'Making Reviewing an Adventure' at the Festival of Outdoor Learning
(7-9th March, 2008)
** Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you want more
information about these events or if you are interested in
hosting an open workshop closer to your home - or a customised
trainer-training event for your organisation. **
Other events on my calendar are 'closed' events designed for the particular needs of an organisation or network (and are not shown here).
~ 6 ~ CALENDAR: FACILITATION SKILLS TRAINING EVENTS
FacilitateThis presents ...
FACILITATION FUNDAMENTALS: a 2 day workshop
November 27th & 28th 2007
Freshen up your facilitation skills, increase your confidence and have more tools and techniques to get the most out of meetings & events.
(where you can also find tools, training and resources by email)
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Organisationspsykologerne & Reviewing Skills Training present ...
ON THE EDGE: a 2 day seminar for consultants who are helping individuals and groups to improve their performance and learning in working situations. The seminar combines active reviewing with artistic work.
January 15th and 16th 2008
Trainers: Roger Greenaway and Claus Dahl.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Eureka! presents ...
TIPS FOR TRAINERS CONFERENCE
Thursday 13 March 2008 and Friday 14 March 2008
TIPS FOR TRAINERS PRE-CONFERENCE WORKSHOPS
Wednesday 12 March 2008
Tips For Trainers In Action, Facilitated by David Gibson
Facilitating Effective Reviews, Facilitated by Dr Roger Greenaway
~ 7 ~ ACTIVE LEARNING BOOKSHOP supports SAVE THE CHILDREN
Roger's Active Learning Bookshop has now raised over £500 for Save the Children since January 2006. Thanks to everyone who has been shopping at the Active Learning Bookshop.
If you have other purchases you want to make at Amazon please go
there via http://reviewing.co.uk/reviews Not only do you get a
good deal, so do children around the world who need our help.
I worked for Save the Children for 4 years so I know about the
value and quality of the work they do.
~ 8 ~ NEXT ISSUE: REVIEWING FOR TEAM DEVELOPMENT
FUTURE ISSUES: READERS LIKE YOU
What would make you think of a future issue as 'Reviewing for Me'? or 'Reviewing for the People I Work With'? Your answer will help me to extend the 'Reviewing For _' series by writing for readers just like you!
Please send your answer to Roger at: email@example.com
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