Community Conversationsthat MatterPresentation by WorldVickie Echols, Pine Tree ISDTSPRA February 2012 Café
What is it?• The World Café is – A conversational process – A protocol for productive discussion and dialogue.• The innovative methodology focuses on hosting conversations in small groups.• It is a method used internationally as a way to safely dialogue about issues that are important to the community, which can sometimes involve sensitive topics for discussion.
What is it?• The conversations link and build on each other as people – move between groups, – discuss questions that matter, – cross-pollinate ideas, – discover new insights, and – focus on issues that are most important in their lives, work, and/or community.
How Does it Work?• Visitors enter the café, find a table and take a seat.• A moderator and table hosts facilitate three rounds of conversation.• Each conversation lasts 20 minutes and focuses on one question at a time.
How Does it Work?• At the end of each 20 minute period, visitors join a new table to discuss a different question.• Participants have the opportunity to visit a total of three different tables where they will meet, listen and dialogue with others from your community.• Finally, visitors and hosts will share as a whole to harvest ideas, insights, and potential actions.
The Process:Before During• Form a Work-Group • Welcome• Consider partnerships with • Discuss in Small Groups for other groups / other events. three rounds• Clarify the Purpose • Share Whole Group Discoveries• Create a Welcoming Space • Post Visual Outcomes• Craft the Questions• Designate Moderators and After Table Hosts • Debrief with work-group after the event
Clarify the Purpose / Set Context• Pay attention early to the reason and purpose for bringing people together.• Consider the needs of the participants and the parameters which are important to achieve your purpose.• Create a slogan and goals that describe the purpose.
Example #1• Disparity in Education & Poverty: A Cultural Perspective – To engage in open and courageous dialogue surrounding race relations in our community; – To spark small group conversation where everyone has a voice; – To brainstorm solutions for the betterment of our community.
Example #2• World Café on Poverty – Pay a Bill or Buy a Meal? – Understanding the Impact of Poverty – Partnership with other organizations: • Provided a light lunch for participants • Included a creative arts/ theatre performance • Included a simulation activity prior to the café
Example #3• World Café for Career & Technical Education – Focus on the Community Advisory Committee – Combine with CTE Awareness Month and Open House for community – Incorporate lunch by Culinary Arts Students
Create a Welcoming Space• Create a hospitable space—one that feels safe and inviting.• When people feel comfortable to be themselves, they do their most creative thinking, speaking, and listening.
Create a Welcoming SpaceCheck List:• Tables / Chairs • Projector / Screen• Tablecloths • Sound system• Paper placemats • Microphones (wireless)• Markers • Music player / CDs• Flowers in a vase • Paper/cards for note• Refreshments taking• Flip Chart/Tape • Post-It Notes 4x6 or larger• And/or White Board
Small GroupConversation• The process begins with the first of two or more twenty minute rounds of conversation for the small group seated around a table.• At the end of the twenty minutes, each member of the group moves to a different new table.• One person serves as the "table host" for the next round, who welcomes the next group and briefly fills them in on what happened in the previous round.
Questions• Each round is prefaced with a question designed for the specific context and desired purpose of the session.
Questions • Your Café may only explore one single question each round, or develop several questions, which support a logical progression of discovery throughout several rounds of dialogue.
Explore Questions that Matter• Finding and framing questions that matter to those who are participating in your Café is an area where thought and attention can produce profound results.
Explore Questions that Matter• In many cases, Café conversations are as much about discovering and exploring powerful questions as they are about finding effective solutions.
Effective Questions1. Attract energy and focus our attention;2. Are open-ended, not yes/no;3. Need not imply advocacy or advantage, but instead invite inquiry and discovery;4. Continue to surface new ideas and possibilities / stand the test of time. “A QUESTION NOT ASKED IS A DOOR NOT OPENED.” MARILEE GOLDBERG, THE ART OF THE QUESTION
Example: Race Relations Qs1. How has your upbringing affected your views of persons of other races?2. In our community, describe1-2 issues related to race relations that you see as needing attention? i.e., job discrimination, school preference, etc.3. If racism is to be eradicated, is forgiveness necessary? If so, by whom and to whom?4. What actions/ideas do you have to help end racism in Longview?
Example: Race Relations Qs1. What about this activity had real meaning for you? (A simulation activity was conducted prior to the question.)2. What assumptions about your personal views have been misinterpreted or questioned? (Such as your morals or values) Give an example.3. What needs our immediate attention in order for us to go forward as an effective Multicultural community?
Example: Career Tech1. How early were you attracted to your careerpath and how did your teachers/educatorsinfluence and support your decision?2. What skills and traits would be required of aHS student for you to consider accepting him/her asan intern?3. What types of jobs do you predict will existwithin your industry in the next 10-15 years andwhat skills will be required to perform them?
Table Hosts…What to do…• Encourage Everyones Contribution• It is important to encourage everyone in your meeting to contribute their ideas and perspectives, while also allowing anyone who wants to participate by simply listening to do so.
Table Hosts…What to do…• Remind people at your table to jot down key connections, ideas, discoveries, and deeper questions as they emerge.• Remain at the table when others leave and welcome travelers from other tables.• Briefly share key insights from the prior conversation so others can link and build using ideas from their respective tables.
Connect Diverse Perspectives• The opportunity to move between tables, meet new people, actively contribute your thinking, and link the essence of your discoveries to ever-widening circles of thought is one of the distinguishing characteristics of the Café.• As participants carry key ideas or themes to new tables, they exchange perspectives, greatly enriching the possibility for surprising new insights.
Listen for Insights• Through practicing shared listening and paying attention to themes, patterns and insights, we begin to sense a connection to the larger whole.• After several rounds of conversation, it is helpful to engage in a whole group conversation. This offers the entire group an opportunity to connect the overall themes or questions that are now present.
Share Discoveries• Harvest: Individuals are invited to share insights or other results from their conversations with the rest of the large group.• These results are reflected visually in a variety of ways, using graphic recorders or sticky notes posted in the front of or around the room.
Visuals of Collective Knowledge• Use a graphic recorder who can draw group ideas to illustrate patterns of conversation• People place the paper from the table on the wall for a Gallery Tour of the group’s ideas.• Large Post-Its with a single insight on the wall or on a blackboard.• Post-Its are clustered so that related ideas are visible and available for planning next steps.• Create a newspaper / newsletter.
World Café on You Tube• http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FCFbNf6 Mb5s&feature=results_main&playnext=1&list =PL0488C6D47948BA92• http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YrTKD8Np ApY• http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6m7fpoAa cBY&feature=related
Contact Me Vickie Echols Pine Tree ISDvechols@ptisd.org 903-295-5136
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