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MIFGASHIM  July 2009

MIFGASHIM July 2009

Subject:

Mifgashim Volume 8 Issue 83

From:

Lee Buckman <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

[log in to unmask]

Date:

Wed, 8 Jul 2009 14:26:45 +0300

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (149 lines)

Mifgashim Volume 8 Issue 83


Contents:

1.	Responses:  What makes a good staff meeting? (Anonymous)

2.	Inquiry:  History of Ravsak (Whitman)

3.	Marshall Memo: Five Principles for Effective Meetings



~~~~~~~~~


1.	Responses:  What makes a good staff meeting? (Anonymous)

(Note:  We received several responses about the quality of staff meetings and guaranteed 
each author’s anonymity due to the sensitive nature of some of the responses.)


There is no doubt in my mind that the mandatory once a week after school, faculty or 
department meetings that fulfill your contractual obligations are not effective.
 
I much prefer meeting on professional days in a relaxed fashion than squeezing it in at a 
non-productive time, where all that is being said could have been communicated via e-
mail with a request for feed back.  I return home at 6p.m. and the entire evening is shut 
as planning for the next day at home is too tiresome and therefore neglected.
 
I would like to see the faculty meeting as an exchange of professional ideas and not a 
lecture given by an administrator. Faculty should be consulted about the agenda and even 
rotate as facilitators.

Anonymous, Texas


~~~~~~~~~


Have a clear agenda and a clear time allotment.  Always remember that teachers’ time is 
valuable – don’t waste it!

I do agree that some things that do not require teacher input or discussion can be 
communicated by other means, e.g. in writing.  I don’t think meetings should only be for 
professional development.  The best time for meetings is after school, early in the week 
is best, on a weekly basis.  In-service days are fine as long as they are kept to one a 
quarter or so.  That is when professional development should be stressed.

Anonymous.


~~~~~~~~~
 

After 23 years of painful meetings these are some notes:
 
I now work in a school as a Rabbi with 20 women teachers -and the meetings are long 
and full of ladies socializing.  Once I worked in a yeshiva high school with only Rabbis and 
the meetings were a pleasure:  down to business and fast!

In a Torah orientated school there must be a dvar Torah to set a nice tone.  There must 
be a set time to begin on time and to end-on time.  There must be an organized agenda 
that should be covered quickly and well.  There must be "food" and coffee to set a nice 
atmosphere including vegetables and fruit for those dieting or looking for healthy snacks.  
Arguments must be avoided and professional disagreements worked out.

Decisions should be made democratically to make all feel important and part of the team 
and not dictated by the principal.

Anonymous, Yerushalayim


~~~~~~~~~


2.	Inquiry:  History of Ravsak (Whitman)


Does anyone know when RAVSAK was founded, with how many member schools and how 
many schools there currently are?

Harriet Z Whitman
[log in to unmask]


~~~~~~~~~


3.	Marshall Memo: Five Principles for Effective Meetings

In this article, veteran educator Robert Garmston suggests five standards for successful 
meetings:

	• Discuss only one topic at a time. A popcorn machine is not the best metaphor for 
team meetings. If a group member wanders off the topic, the facilitator might say, “Help 
us understand how your comment connects to this topic.” Off-topic ideas can be listed on 
a wall chart so they won’t be lost.

	• Use only one process at a time. If the group is brainstorming, it should stick to 
the rules of brainstorming (i.e., no critical comments, list all ideas before evaluating or 
discussing them).

	• Keep everyone actively involved. One way of doing this is having group members 
turn to their neighbor periodically to summarize ideas or voice their thoughts. 

	• Use conflict constructively. “Groups that discuss substantive differences of 
opinion,” writes Garmston, “produce better decisions, increased commitment, 
cohesiveness, and follow-through than groups that lack this ‘cognitive conflict.’” The trick 
is talking respectfully to individuals while disagreeing vigorously with their ideas. 

	• Understand and agree on roles. There needs to be a facilitator and a record-
keeper. Often there is a decision-maker or a knowledge specialist, and this person should 
not be the facilitator so that his or her full expertise can be tapped by the group.

“The 5 Principles of Successful Meetings” by Robert Garmston in The Learning System, 
Dec. 2005/Jan. 2006 (Vol. 1, #4, p. 1, 6, 8).  E-link available at 
http://74.125.95.132/search?
q=cache:3GRj6UtvAlwJ:www.centerforexcellence.cmich.edu/FYI%2520Archives/06/Jan%2
52006%2520FYI.pdf+The+5+Principles+of+Successful+Meetings”+by+Robert+Garmston
&cd=3&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us&client=safari

The Marshall Memo is a weekly digest of important research in K-12 education. Individual 
subscriptions are $50 for the school year at http://www.marshallmemo.com.

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