I just sat through another meeting, a meeting of “sit and get,” I thought being in the 21st century we would move to “collaborate,” but apparently not. My guess is the person in charge taught the “sit and get,” method and doesn’t know how to conduct a class of collaboration. It takes more work, more planning, and more thinking on your feet. If you have taught for 25 years the “sit and get,” method, this is how you conduct your meetings.
The “sit and get” meeting is simple. You have a canned speech, a list of topics, and almost to the minute, the “chain of events.” There is no room for questioning the material, because all the major decisions have been made already. The list of topics are long because if there is a question or concern others just stare at you because you now have lengthened the meeting and they want to go home., This meeting or class is only there for getting information ONE way, information to you. It could have been done in a memo or email, however, the director likes to “teach” and this is his/her time of the month, the monthly meeting.
In the collaborative meeting, the guidelines or topics are mapped out, but a discussion about each topic is welcomed, not stared down. You actually have empowerment of decisions and how we are going to move forward. This takes planning and making sure all voices are heard. It can be scary, because the direction you want to go may or may not be the direction the group wants to go.
In the “sit and get” meeting there is a justification of keep the status quo, no real change, just making sure everything stays the same and “let’s go over the calendar.” Calendar events are in stone and cannot be changed or discussed.
In the collaborative meeting, current issues and how we are going to “change” and improve the situation are thought through. At the end of the meeting there is a feeling of movement, a movement of change and a feeling of accomplishment, that something actually got done. Yes, you mattered and the meeting was a success.
I hope all my students feel that they matter and that I run a collaborative classroom. That is what is important to me.