Queensland Sustainable Schools

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Department of Education and Training

Team Meetings

Meetings

Meetings involving students such as class meetings, Student Representative Council meetings or school environment team meetings provide important learning opportunities for students.

Students can learn how to:

  • practise effective verbal communication skills
  • be active learners
  • be creative and productive
  • improve their thinking abilities
  • contribute to decision-making processes
  • work as a team.

These skills and opportunities provide the students with a good foundation for social innovation.

In addition, they also let students see that can play a role in making changes and taking action. For example, in class meetings about environmental planning, support material can be used to keep the meeting focussed. These include a vision statement, an agenda, agreed processes, and defined roles, rights and responsibilities for each participant in the meeting.

Meetings involving students such as class meetings, Student Representative Council meetings or school environment team meetings provide important learning opportunities for students.

Students can learn how to:

  • practise effective verbal communication skills
  • be active learners
  • be creative and productive
  • improve their thinking abilities
  • contribute to decision-making processes
  • work as a team.

These skills and opportunities provide the students with a good foundation for social innovation.

In addition, they also let students see that can play a role in making changes and taking action. For example, in class meetings about environmental planning, support material can be used to keep the meeting focussed. These include a vision statement, an agenda, agreed processes, and defined roles, rights and responsibilities for each participant in the meeting.

How to Run Effective Student Meetings

Forming an agenda

An agenda outlines the content of a meeting and sets the order in which the meeting will proceed. For class meetings, the agenda is usually decided by the students or group leaders. They must consider:

  • how much time will we allocate for each issue?
  • does someone need to brief the group, to provide background information?
  • how much question and clarification time will we allocate?
  • do we need to break into small groups to share ideas and assign priorities and then return to the main group?

Agenda items could be generated from:

  • a meeting suggestion box
  • a ‘parking lot’, or
  • a planning sheet.

Meeting suggestion box

Any ideas for proposals to be discussed at a future meeting can be placed in a meeting suggestion box, and the group can set aside a time or a regular time slot to review and discuss the suggestions.

Someone may wish to ‘second’ a proposal. It could then be put on the agenda for the next meeting. Proposals could be assigned a priority, according the group’s goals for a specific project or for the whole year.

Parking lot

The ‘parking lot’ is a place to put things during a meeting which don’t need to be part of the meeting discussion right now, but might be useful as supporting information, or for following up later on. Anyone can write down ideas, comments or concerns that perhaps don’t fit the topics or issues which are currently being discussed. Other information can be parked here too, eg visitors' business cards as they address the meeting. The parking lot can be a source of ideas and information for future meetings.

Meeting roles

Specific roles are assigned to students, for a negotiated time, to help them improve their meeting skills.

Chairperson

The chairperson is responsible for running the meeting. She or he:

  • helps the group move through the agenda in the available time
  • tries to maintain an equal balance of speakers
  • does not make decisions for the group.

Chairperson’s duties:

  • ask that motions be tabled before the meeting (so the agenda can be prepared beforehand)
  • officially open the meeting and introduce any visitors if necessary
  • inform the meeting and the timekeeper of the time allocated for the meeting, and if appropriate, the time allocated for each item on the agenda
  • insist that those who wish to speak raise their hand and wait until they have been acknowledged by the chairperson
  • ask for background information on items if necessary
  • keep the members on the subject, as set out in the agenda
  • ask the members for positive feedback on each item
  • working with the timekeeper, keep discussion time for each item in accordance with the agenda
  • propose voting and count the votes
  • ask the Recorder to read aloud their record of proposals or decisions, as and when appropriate
  • ask the Observer for constructive feedback on the meeting
  • officially close the meeting and thank the participants.

Recorder

The Recorder is responsible for writing down the proceedings in a legible manner. They have to create what all participants would agree is a ‘true’ account of the proceedings.
Recorder’s duties:

  • take notes during the meeting
  • carefully and accurately word any proposals and decisions and read them out to the meeting as requested by the chairperson
  • record the number of votes on each proposal
  • record the proposed agenda for the next meeting
  • after the meeting write up a report of the proceedings and place it in the class meeting folder.

Observer

The Observer maintains a general overview of the meeting and, in particular, looks at its good points. There may be two observers—one on each side of the circle. They note positive and negative comments, and at the conclusion of the meeting they give feedback about the group as a whole.

They may make suggestions to the group eg next time speakers should stand when they talk.

Observer’s duties:

  • observe the proceedings of the meeting and provide positive feedback to the group
  • write a reflective comment on the meeting and place it in the class meeting folder
  • let the others know what worked well in the meeting and what can be improved.

 

Timekeeper

The Timekeeper keeps an eye on the meeting’s progress through the agenda and times the discussions so they conform to their allocated intervals. They help the meeting start and finish on time.

Timekeeper’s duties:

  • listen to the discussions
  • keep an eye on the time each discussion takes
  • let the chairperson know when the agreed time is nearly up, when it is up and when it runs over
  • record the start and conclusion times for the meeting, and verify that this has been correctly recorded in the meeting report.

Forming an agenda

An agenda outlines the content of a meeting and sets the order in which the meeting will proceed. For class meetings, the agenda is usually decided by the students or group leaders. They must consider:

  • how much time will we allocate for each issue?
  • does someone need to brief the group, to provide background information?
  • how much question and clarification time will we allocate?
  • do we need to break into small groups to share ideas and assign priorities and then return to the main group?

Agenda items could be generated from:

  • a meeting suggestion box
  • a ‘parking lot’, or
  • a planning sheet.

Meeting suggestion box

Any ideas for proposals to be discussed at a future meeting can be placed in a meeting suggestion box, and the group can set aside a time or a regular time slot to review and discuss the suggestions.

Someone may wish to ‘second’ a proposal. It could then be put on the agenda for the next meeting. Proposals could be assigned a priority, according the group’s goals for a specific project or for the whole year.

Parking lot

The ‘parking lot’ is a place to put things during a meeting which don’t need to be part of the meeting discussion right now, but might be useful as supporting information, or for following up later on. Anyone can write down ideas, comments or concerns that perhaps don’t fit the topics or issues which are currently being discussed. Other information can be parked here too, eg visitors' business cards as they address the meeting. The parking lot can be a source of ideas and information for future meetings.

Meeting roles

Specific roles are assigned to students, for a negotiated time, to help them improve their meeting skills.

Chairperson

The chairperson is responsible for running the meeting. She or he:

  • helps the group move through the agenda in the available time
  • tries to maintain an equal balance of speakers
  • does not make decisions for the group.

Chairperson’s duties:

  • ask that motions be tabled before the meeting (so the agenda can be prepared beforehand)
  • officially open the meeting and introduce any visitors if necessary
  • inform the meeting and the timekeeper of the time allocated for the meeting, and if appropriate, the time allocated for each item on the agenda
  • insist that those who wish to speak raise their hand and wait until they have been acknowledged by the chairperson
  • ask for background information on items if necessary
  • keep the members on the subject, as set out in the agenda
  • ask the members for positive feedback on each item
  • working with the timekeeper, keep discussion time for each item in accordance with the agenda
  • propose voting and count the votes
  • ask the Recorder to read aloud their record of proposals or decisions, as and when appropriate
  • ask the Observer for constructive feedback on the meeting
  • officially close the meeting and thank the participants.

Recorder

The Recorder is responsible for writing down the proceedings in a legible manner. They have to create what all participants would agree is a ‘true’ account of the proceedings.
Recorder’s duties:

  • take notes during the meeting
  • carefully and accurately word any proposals and decisions and read them out to the meeting as requested by the chairperson
  • record the number of votes on each proposal
  • record the proposed agenda for the next meeting
  • after the meeting write up a report of the proceedings and place it in the class meeting folder.

Observer

The Observer maintains a general overview of the meeting and, in particular, looks at its good points. There may be two observers—one on each side of the circle. They note positive and negative comments, and at the conclusion of the meeting they give feedback about the group as a whole.

They may make suggestions to the group eg next time speakers should stand when they talk.

Observer’s duties:

  • observe the proceedings of the meeting and provide positive feedback to the group
  • write a reflective comment on the meeting and place it in the class meeting folder
  • let the others know what worked well in the meeting and what can be improved.

 

Timekeeper

The Timekeeper keeps an eye on the meeting’s progress through the agenda and times the discussions so they conform to their allocated intervals. They help the meeting start and finish on time.

Timekeeper’s duties:

  • listen to the discussions
  • keep an eye on the time each discussion takes
  • let the chairperson know when the agreed time is nearly up, when it is up and when it runs over
  • record the start and conclusion times for the meeting, and verify that this has been correctly recorded in the meeting report.

Conducting the Meeting

Preparation

You may like to:

  • advertise the meeting (eg in the school newsletter, or by announcing it at a school assembly or over the PA system) and display the agenda in a visible location
  • confirm that the meeting room is available and that any facilities required will be available, eg a whiteboard or projector
  • organise the room to allow for good eye contact
  • place a ‘do not disturb’ sign on the door of the meeting room, requesting no interruptions for a set time
  • begin the meeting with a thinking or social skills game.

Meeting rules

  • people wishing to speak must raise their hand first and wait to be acknowledged by the chairperson
  • anyone can ask for clarification if they don’t understand something
  • speakers have a right to be uninterrupted
  • different or original ideas should be encouraged
  • everyone must be respectful and polite.

Proceedings

  • Proposals are raised by the chairperson. Discussion alternates between ‘for’ and ‘against’ the proposal.
  • During this time the participants share their ideas and everyone has a say. All the participants are welcome to contribute to any decisions.
  • At the end of the time allocated for the item a recommendation is made. This recommendation could be to vote on the proposal, or the topic may be referred for further research or discussion at a subsequent meeting.
  • When the discussions on the proposal are complete, the chairperson says: ‘Can we vote on this proposal now?’
  • The recorder reads out the proposal.
  • The chairperson asks, ‘Who is favour of this proposal?’ Who is against the proposal?
  • The recorder counts the number of votes for and against, and records this next to the proposal. Everyone gets one vote. The recorder reads out the group’s decision.
  • The chairperson repeats the decision to make sure everyone understands what has been decided.
  • After all the issues have been discussed (or after the meeting is over) the recorder makes sure that all the decisions have been noted, and that accurate details are recorded for later reference and as a final summary, so that all participants can be sure of the outcomes.
  • The observer reports on the behaviour throughout the meeting and identifies an area which can be improved (e.g. eye contact with the person speaking).
  • Everyone is invited to give constructive feedback about the meeting.

Preparation

You may like to:

  • advertise the meeting (eg in the school newsletter, or by announcing it at a school assembly or over the PA system) and display the agenda in a visible location
  • confirm that the meeting room is available and that any facilities required will be available, eg a whiteboard or projector
  • organise the room to allow for good eye contact
  • place a ‘do not disturb’ sign on the door of the meeting room, requesting no interruptions for a set time
  • begin the meeting with a thinking or social skills game.

Meeting rules

  • people wishing to speak must raise their hand first and wait to be acknowledged by the chairperson
  • anyone can ask for clarification if they don’t understand something
  • speakers have a right to be uninterrupted
  • different or original ideas should be encouraged
  • everyone must be respectful and polite.

Proceedings

  • Proposals are raised by the chairperson. Discussion alternates between ‘for’ and ‘against’ the proposal.
  • During this time the participants share their ideas and everyone has a say. All the participants are welcome to contribute to any decisions.
  • At the end of the time allocated for the item a recommendation is made. This recommendation could be to vote on the proposal, or the topic may be referred for further research or discussion at a subsequent meeting.
  • When the discussions on the proposal are complete, the chairperson says: ‘Can we vote on this proposal now?’
  • The recorder reads out the proposal.
  • The chairperson asks, ‘Who is favour of this proposal?’ Who is against the proposal?
  • The recorder counts the number of votes for and against, and records this next to the proposal. Everyone gets one vote. The recorder reads out the group’s decision.
  • The chairperson repeats the decision to make sure everyone understands what has been decided.
  • After all the issues have been discussed (or after the meeting is over) the recorder makes sure that all the decisions have been noted, and that accurate details are recorded for later reference and as a final summary, so that all participants can be sure of the outcomes.
  • The observer reports on the behaviour throughout the meeting and identifies an area which can be improved (e.g. eye contact with the person speaking).
  • Everyone is invited to give constructive feedback about the meeting.

Rights and responsibilities of meeting participants

  • You have the right to be listened to and the responsibility to listen to others without interrupting and in an appropriate way.
  • You have the right to think differently and the responsibility to be tolerant of other people's ideas.
  • You have the right to be treated with respect and the responsibility to be courteous and polite.
  • You have the right to express your opinions and feelings and you have the responsibility to listen to the opinions and feelings of others.
  • You have the right to ask for more information and the responsibility to give extra information or seek it for others.
  • You have the right to consider your needs and the responsibility to consider the needs of others.
  • You have the right to make your own decisions and the responsibility to recognise decisions of others.
  • You have the right to make mistakes and the responsibility to learn from your own mistakes.
  • You have the right to take the time to consider an issue and the responsibility to act upon your decision.
  • You have the right to be listened to and the responsibility to listen to others without interrupting and in an appropriate way.
  • You have the right to think differently and the responsibility to be tolerant of other people's ideas.
  • You have the right to be treated with respect and the responsibility to be courteous and polite.
  • You have the right to express your opinions and feelings and you have the responsibility to listen to the opinions and feelings of others.
  • You have the right to ask for more information and the responsibility to give extra information or seek it for others.
  • You have the right to consider your needs and the responsibility to consider the needs of others.
  • You have the right to make your own decisions and the responsibility to recognise decisions of others.
  • You have the right to make mistakes and the responsibility to learn from your own mistakes.
  • You have the right to take the time to consider an issue and the responsibility to act upon your decision.