With our differentiation focus at school, we set about to establish criteria to ensure all curriculum planning involved specific elements to guarantee student learning objectives were at the centre. One of the offshoots of this process was the realisation that our curriculum planning time in faculties was very limited and meeting structures needed some/a lot of adjustment to make them more productive.
With this brought to light, I looked at my own faculty, how we spend our time and how we could streamline it to make it more effective. We made two adjustments which have led to great improvement and less time wasted!
1. Developing an agenda that requires action!
My first focus was to ensure we had something to show. What was our aim and what was it we wanted to get from our time together. This led to establishing a requirement for our meetings; that items on the agenda must be related to:
- curriculum planning
- relationship building
- professional development or
- problem solving and decision making
Each item on the agenda required a solution, an action or a product by the end of the staff meeting. These could include; curriculum design, developing responses to behaviour, organising excursions, timetable changes or looking at technology implementation.
Here is our Unit Agenda from our last meeting.
You will also notice at the very bottom, an expectation that staff bring ‘materials’ or complete ‘preparation’.
2. Eliminating announcements!
Developing a shared “notice board” meant that announcements were kept for reading prior to the meeting and precious time was not wasted broadcasting information. Initially this led to addressing only queries or questions during meeting time.
Recently we have taken this one step further. We share our notices (and everything else) on Google Docs so we established a space underneath for questions or clarifications. This enables us to address these in real time, prior to meetings to again ensure we use our time more productively.
These two simple changes have meant that our meetings always have something to show at the end. It relies on a level of professional practice with an expectation that everyone reads both the notices and the agenda. We still do share information via email, text and of course face to face, but having these two documents ensure we maintain communication and utilise our collaborative time better.