The RoundTable: A Seed for Systemic School Renewal

Ever-increasing demands on schools, especially teachers, reduce their time and ability to respond to students’ needs (the 19 + 1 = 18 effect) or collaborate on school problems (Tower of Babel effect). The 30/30 RoundTable (see also GEMS RoundTable) creates time for communication and collaboration on users’ own topics, without adding to educator workloads.

What does the 30/30 RoundTable look like?

A 30/30 RoundTable  is a carefully designed 30-minute group activity that allows 30 people to give their views and hear views of all others on topics of their own choosing. A one-page leader’s script allots five minutes to basic readings/guidelines and the topic of the day. This leaves 25 minutes for individual comments, time divided equally among all present.

In a weekly classroom RoundTable, the teacher leads the first few sessions. Then, when ready, students take turns leading. By the end of the year, all students are offered an opportunity to be RoundTable leader. In a monthly staff meeting, the RoundTable designer or principal, (i.e., formal leader) leads the first one or two meetings, then staff members lead, one turn each.

The RoundTable’s multiple interacting benefits are especially important in busy schools and workplaces. Like a Swiss Army knife-or more pc, swiss utility tool  🙂 — the RoundTable has countless uses and fits into a small space.

Countless uses

  • The RoundTable session accelerates learning of two-plus subject matters at once.
    • User’s choice: the subject matter of classrooms—English, social studies, science, and so on—or the agenda in staff meetings.
    • Communication awareness and skills—It increases opportunities and skills in leadership, shared leadership, values clarification, diversity appreciation, equity, authenticity, and self-reflective listening and speaking—especially important in learning groups or classrooms. In meetings or planning groups, it helps build the cumulative knowledge needed for effective action plans.
  • Results include increased engagement and community spirit. Hearing 30 peers viewpoints increases awareness, understanding, and respect—for self and other.

Small space

Like a Swiss Army knife, the RoundTable fits into a small space from many points of view. It requires little time, space, energy or money. It is contained in a one-page script and folder. A RoundTable is a small portion of classes and meetings: 30 minutes weekly or monthly. The Guide is user-ready, but easy to modify.  After very few coaching sessions, users can run their own RoundTables.

In sum. The user-friendly, multipurpose 30/30 RoundTable helps schools address their own concerns and respond to their own students. Instead of more outside demands on schools, the RoundTable is a simple seed for systemic school renewal from within.

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