Rules of engagement for quality learning conversations.

Fyra personer sitter i samtal.

High performing teams rely on shared commitments and quality conversations to take the team, and the school, forward.  Trouble can come when the team doesn’t speak with one voice, or certain team members opt out, or take over the conversation.


So, what can we put in place to ensure the conversation maintains a high standard and takes the team forward?  For the purpose of this blog, I’ve called these ideas “Rules of Engagement”.  I hope they help.



It’s important that suggestions and comments made by team members are valued by the team. Often we judge a simple statement or idea too quickly. Saying yes doesn’t mean that the solution has been found and that the team decision has been made.  It simply means thank you for what you have said, it is valued and may be part of the final solution.  Begin with a ‘yes’ and see where the team goes.



Team members should begin by agreeing with the idea and then they should add something of their own, in an effort to build on to the idea.  We have to maintain that the idea was put forward with a genuine belief that it would be helpful.  It is the responsibility of each team member to contribute something to the discussion and help fashion a way forward together.



Too often, suggestions are qualified by “What happens if? What about this? It’s not helpful to always be raising more questions or pointing out all the obstacles when the team is working hard to find a solution.  In productive learning conversations, team members build on each other’s contribution.



High performing teams are curious. Curiosity is a thirst for information and ideas.  Curious team members are not satisfied by the status quo- they want to know more, do more, and be more.  They ask questions about things they don’t know or understand (but want to), and actively seek solutions.  Curious team members are also more likely to engage with the solutions and grow their expertise and knowledge.