III. VIEWER ACTIVITIES
A Viewers' Workshop
This workshop is designed for educators or others interested in viewing the video as the start of an ongoing, in-depth discussion about public engagement in their school or community, but the outline can readily be adapted to your particular situation. (For example, parts 1 and 2 can be used to structure a more general conversation about the video.) The workshop takes between one and a half and two hours, including the 30-minute video.
Part 1: Preparing to Watch the Video (15-20 minutes)
Before viewing the video, invite participants to discuss a few of the following questions:
- What does public engagement mean to you?
- How could family involvement help increase student achievement?
- What can schools do to encourage family involvement?
- What can schools do that discourages family involvement?
- What is a role for families in understanding school and student accountability?
- What are ways to measure the impact of family involvement on student achievement?
- What resources are needed for family involvement?
Part 2: Watching the Video (30 minutes)
Ask participants to consider the following questions as they watch the video. Make clear that these questions will be discussed after the video.
- What roles do you see parents playing at O'Hearn?
- In what ways do parents share the role of teacher in this school?
- In what ways do you notice school personnel interacting with parents at O'Hearn? Can you tell who are the teachers and who are the parents?
Part 3: Discussing the Issues Raised in the Video (45-60 minutes)
The purpose of this discussion is to gain a deeper understanding of the work of O'Hearn and the issues that it raises about public engagement. It offers a way to begin a conversation about the implications of this work in your own school or community.
|Ensuring a Good Conversation:
A Few Basic Groundrules
- Identify a facilitator and a timekeeper.
- Set norms for the discussion. Be sure all participants have an opportunity to understand and agree to these norms. They may want to add others.
- Focus on the video and the discussion in it. Refer to specific examples from the video in your discussion.
- Build on what others say.
- Listen carefully and do not "step on" one another's talk.
- Converse -- no need to raise your hand, but don't interrupt either.
- Expose and challenge your own assumptions.
- Watch your airtime.
Present or elicit several focus questions for the discussion. Here are some suggestions.
- What excites you about the story of O'Hearn?
- What did you see happening that made you think you might do something differently in your own school?
- What did you see happening that you hadn't thought was possible?
- What could your school do to get more parents involved in meaningful decision making?
- What could your school do to help teachers work with parents and communities as partners?
- Did watching this video change your definition of public engagement? In what way(s)?
- What might be the benefits to your school of engaging the community in decision making?
- Teachers and parents at O'Hearn are focused on serious student learning and achievement issues. Why is this important? How can this be difficult sometimes?
- Which of the following characteristics of successful public engagement initiatives (based on research by the Annenberg Institute) did you see at O'Hearn?
-- inclusive, in-depth dialogue
-- dedication to real improvement in schools
-- commitment to creating dynamic partnerships
-- working to find common ground
-- candor and mutual trust