Frequently Asked Questions! “Why not just have conversations or discussions?” “Why should we use a process that feels so artificial, awkward and restrictive?”
Why Use Protocols? “In general, protocols are processes that help groups achieve deep understanding through dialogue…” Easton (2009)
What Makes Some Uncomfortable? o Structured dialogue – following a series of steps in a fixed order o Restrictions on when group members can talk; o Specifying roles different people will play during the protocol
Necessary Tensions Well designed protocols have a series of necessary tensions between: o Talking and Listening o Discipline and Play o Safety and Risk o Individual Learning and Group Learning
Benefits Using protocols increases learning by: o Guarding against conversations that sink into a debate between two people o Having time limits that make it less likely that a small number of individuals dominate air time
Benefits Using protocols increases learning by: o Having guidelines that – Protects members of the group and pushes the conversation deep – Permits a kind of conversation people are not in the habit of having
Adapting Protocols Reasons to adapt an existing protocol o Time availability o Group composition o Group size o Purpose
Adapting Protocols Considerations for Adapting Protocols o Purpose o Existing Protocols o Balance among competing perspectives, needs, & interests necessary for your purpose o Balance between free and structured conversation o Context
Adapting Protocols Caveat Small changes in a protocol’s structure can significantly alter the kind of conversations people have.
Remember, the point of a protocol is to have an in-depth, insightfulconversation about teaching and learning, not to do a perfect protocol.