Faculty meetings can bring new ideas to light, improve processes and encourage collaboration. Meetings can be a time to discuss what is and isn’t working well—and make decisions to help teachers more effectively and efficiently do their jobs. Faculty meetings are also great for showing teachers how much you respect and value them. However, more than 35% of people say they spend 2-5 hours daily on meetings and calls but have nothing to show for it. To help ensure your meetings are productive, we offer six tips for more effective faculty meetings.
1. Ask for real-life applications
Pick one or two areas you’d like the entire school to focus on, such as critical thinking or classroom communication. Before your next faculty meeting, send a note to each teacher, asking them to record good examples of both. At the meeting, showcase each teacher’s example. This helps other staff gain inspiration and ideas from what is already working well. This also helps validate teachers’ success in their classroom, thanks to hard work and creativity.
2. Start a “book club”
Ask educators to read a specific text (whether it’s a book or blog series) and write down their thoughts on it. Begin a discussion group, similar to a book club, during which everyone can discuss what they’ve learned or share any new ideas that came from the text. Having one text to refer to also helps keep everyone on the same page. You can focus the conversation on a few pre-determined questions or allow free-flow conversation, where everyone gets a chance to share their ideas. Give everyone a full-colour bookmark as a teacher giveaway to remind them to keep reading and learning.
3. Hold smaller meetings
Rather than hosting an all-faculty meeting, consider meeting with smaller groups of teachers. Because people may hesitate to share their thoughts and ideas in a big group, a more intimate setting may allow quieter voices to feel heard.
Smaller groups also are more conducive to careful listening and improved focus. And better focus creates a more effective faculty meeting because attendees are less likely to multitask (as 92% of people admit to doing during meetings). After each meeting, hand out teacher giveaways, like a glass mug, to show appreciation for your faculty’s time and thoughts.
4. Have brainstorming sessions
Pinpoint something you’d like to improve and then get staff together to brainstorm. Break your team into small groups and give them an objective to achieve, such as “Implement more outdoor learning.” Let staff brainstorm ideas (no idea is a bad idea), choose the best ones, and create a pros and cons list for each. Provide a lined notepad and enough stylus twist pens for each group. At the end of the breakout sessions, ask each group to turn in their ideas. This is a big step toward practical implementation.
5. Present challenges and learning opportunities
We all know not everything goes as planned. Present current challenges and past learnings for staff reflection and troubleshooting. Bringing these issues to your faculty meetings allows for multiple perspectives and improvement ideas. As organizational psychologist Tasha Eurich says, “I believe almost everyone can benefit from sharing and hearing another perspective. It’s healthy to ask about what went wrong in a meeting. You have to engage other people in that process of learning.”
For example, if teachers are challenged with a new curriculum, discussing dilemmas with other faculty can help determine next steps.
6. Talk to students
Ultimately, faculty meetings are about your students. How can you help them learn better? How can you provide powerful experiences? How can you prepare them for real-world situations? To better design lessons and make sure your meetings focus on suitable topics, talk to your students. Ask students questions like “If there’s one area where you want the school to improve, what would it be?” and “What makes you feel successful at school?” Talking to students and sharing their insights helps staff gain deeper empathy and understanding. Thank each student for participating with an age-appropriate gift, like a mini umbrella or kids’ animal colouring book.
Create productive faculty meetings
By getting teachers and students more involved in brainstorming and troubleshooting, you can quickly create more effective faculty meetings. Good luck!