This meeting finished up our content on learning, with a particular focus on the role of talk.
Collective recall: Prior knowledge
- We started the meeting with a collective recall of the previous meeting. Everyone was invited to recall and share out what they remembered. Someone started “there was ice cubes.”
- A collective recall is not a summary. If asking for a “summary,” then one or two people (likely the usual outspoken individuals) will give their take on what was presented. Participants with uncertainties or who didn’t understand might be reluctant to speak. A collective recall asks everyone to contribute to piecing together the information and thus more individuals are retrieving their memories.
Slowing down to talk
- We intentionally slowed down the pace for this meeting. There was just too much going on (activities and content) in the previous meetings. We knew it when I planned out the agendas, but then I just didn’t take the breath needed to reconsider how to rearrange the tasks. But thank goodness for working within a team and having thoughtful and skilled teammates who push each other to do better.
- The routine for this Research Discussion on the Talking to Learn reading is similar to the previous on Prior Knowledge, in that everyone listens in on a conversation between a small group of participants. This week, however, each small group had a different piece of the entire reading. So, we “jigsawed” the text and then did a “fishbowl” discussion. Each group having new information to “add-on” to the whole-group conversation.
- I started doing Research Discussions in this way many years ago because the video conferencing platform we were using at the time didn’t have breakout room capabilities. We called it “eavesdropping” because we were all listening in on each small-group’s conversation. Over the years, I’ve found it’s a nice way to have discussions on research when we’re online. It enables to us to hear from more people, while still getting into deeper content. With so many people in the whole-group, only having the speakers keep their cameras on is a nice way to focus everyone’s attention to those who are talking.
- One rule I think I would add for the small-groups is that they need to monitor themselves to ensure everyone has a chance to speak. For the most part, everyone in our cohorts did a nice job with that. But it never hurts to remind them. This point is both for those who have a tendency to talk a lot AND those who are more reluctant to speak out loud. We’ve constrained the number of speakers, but everyone is still watching. Some participants may be hesitant to speak knowing everyone is present.