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BALANCING SUCCESS

Finding the right balance

This issue is also considered in other parts of reviewing success. Here is just one method that will help you to achieve the right balance between positives and negatives - and a balance that is acceptable to (and supported by) the group you are working with.

Brainstorm about reviewing

  • At the start of a review session set up a brainstorm to generate possible review topics.
  • Reassure people who may not like the idea of a long review that the brainstorm list will NOT be the A-Z agenda for the review.
  • If ideas are slow to appear then ask for 'moments' or 'events' (deliberately 'neutral' terms) that could be included in the review.
  • Your aim (as a facilitator) is to end up with a list that is too long (remember this is a brainstorm).
  • Make a mental note of the balance between 'positive', 'negative' and 'neutral' items appearing on the list.
  • Once you have generated a longish list, ask 'How should we choose what to review from this list?'
  • Discourage straight choices about what to review, and focus discussion on the criteria for choosing what to review.
  • If necessary, introduce the positive/negative balance into this discussion about criteria - but do not assume that everyone has the same view about which items are 'positive' and which are 'negative'. This in itself can be a useful discussion!
  • Conclude the discussion by summarising the criteria that have emerged, and use these to guide future reviews.
This was a discussion about reviewing rather than an actual review of the experience. You must judge whether an actual review is still appropriate at this point.

After a few more reviews, return to the list of criteria and consider revising it with the group.

The outcomes of this whole process should be:

  • suitably balanced reviews
  • the group taking an intelligent interest in the reviewing process itself
  • the facilitator being better able to judge which reviewing tools to use when.

UNDERSTANDING SUCCESS

Balanced reviewing for balanced learning

How do you get the positive-negative balance right in reviewing? The 'right' balance will be different for each individual, each group, and each culture. And the point of balance keeps changing - what's 'right' in the morning may no longer be 'right' in the afternoon.
By giving regular attention to adjusting this particular balance, your reviewing sessions are more likely to meet the changing needs of different learners.

UNDERSTANDING SUCCESS

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