Successful faculty meetings contribute to the momentum of the continuous improvement of teaching, learning, and relationships within the school community.
They add value by deepening understanding, spreading effective practices, and building relationships.
On the other hand, poorly planned and facilitated meetings deplete energy and can bring innovation to a standstill.
In my experience, successful meetings have four essential ingredients:
1. Celebration of one another and of accomplishments within the school community. While it is certainly appropriate to note student accomplishments, it’s also important to draw attention to the accomplishments and strengths of the adult members of the school community. To that end faculty meetings can routinely begin with a few minutes of recognition and celebration. Such rituals can deepen relationships and energize the school community.
2. Professional learning focused on the school’s most important goals. The kind of professional learning I have in mind would occur as staff members analyzed various types of evidence regarding student learning, explored professional literature, and shared effective practices. It would seldom include what we think of as training or presentations.
3. Thoughtful deliberation regarding significant challenges and decisions that the school community faces. Because these conversations would be structured through the use of protocols or other small and large group activities, they would be focused and deep.
4. “Next action thinking.” Momentum would be maintained because meetings would always conclude with clarity about individual and collective responsibilities. As a result, there would be no confusion about who will do what, by when, and to what standard.
Administrivia, of course, would be eliminated or minimized. Administrative items would be distributed through email with clear explanations about what is expected from staff members.
Question: In your experience what are the ingredients of productive and energizing faculty meetings? What things have I missed?