Sunday, January 07, 2007

Schools Attuned

I am really pleased that we have been given the services of Schools Attuned again. Two days last week I had the opportunity to attend a workshop for the Schools Attuned program based on Dr. Mel Levine’s Neurodevelopmental constructs. The workshop, like many I have attended in the past, will most definitely leave a lasting impression on me. The Facilitator, Clare Wurtzel, introduced us to the “role of a facilitator” through two texts, “The Zen of Facilitation” and “Paying Doubles” (by Nancy Mohr).

I have never read either of the articles and found them both to be very rich. As the workshop progressed I realized so many things about facilitators of meetings.

Teachers teach the same way with adults and children. If you get a chance to lead a group of teachers you quickly fall back into the model you use in the classroom. This was so evident when teachers attempted to get the attention of the class by saying, “All eyes on me” or “We can begin when all the pens are down.” As we were sitting in the workshop each member got a chance to facilitate a piece of the “Schools Attuned” curriculum. I know I personally fell into my “QHST” mode when it was my turn to present. (I passed out activity guides…..I’m such a geek)

Teachers love to hear themselves speak. Many people presented information here the same way they would in their class. Teachers meeting without clear protocols get way too off topic. I applaud Clare for bringing us back, but educators love to share their personal struggle. (I switched to the word educator here purposely because most of the other participants were assistant principles.)

I would not do well in a traditional classroom. I felt uncomfortable. I was being talked to. I was being told where to look, “All eyes up here” - one person even flicked the lights to get the attention of the eleven participants. I could not follow the verbal directions, there were too many cooks. We had just read these two amazing articles and it seemed that the heart of the articles was being ignored.

Feedback is impossible without a protocol. One of the more enlightened participants of the group said, “I did not enjoy that you did the learning for us.” I was relived to hear that others were bothered. But I did not feel safe. I realized that without a protocol where everyone is mandated to give warm and cool feedback (like a CFG) giving cool feedback is way too awkward.

I look forward to sharing the new ideas I was introduced to during the workshop with my team. We are going to begin looking at the neurodevelopmental constructs after reading, “A Mind at A Time” by Mel Levine.


Superfly said...

Brownie, you are too cool! I need to

Anonymous said...

First of all, if you're a brownie you are definitely a nutty one.

Just kidding!

My last experience with S.A. sounds similar to yours. Due to time constraints, facilitators seemed to be following the "breadth" instead of "depth" philosophy of teaching, which seemed antithetical to the S.A. principles.
Was yours held in LIC? Mine was, and I think the layout worked against the training. The room did not encourage a continuous flow if discussion. Also,I was distracted by the sound of the VCR from the training in an adjacent room. (But that's just me; I have ADD.)

No regrets though; I still have a truckload full of S.A. resources to fall back on.