Saturday, September 13, 2008

The LHS math meeting and small groups

I've been thinking about the intended use of small groups by Finch and Behn at the math meeting, and the crowd reaction to it. Here's what I came up with:

Small groups are a big part of education theory. They have been for some time, and for good reason (basically, they are effective). I can see why Finch and Behn would have wanted small groups in this case (aside from LT's point about protecting the math teachers). However, I can also see two roadblocks; the first is that parents aren't aware of the history of small groups in education, and the administrators (presumably) didn't bother to explain them; the second is that Finch mandated their use, and failed to get buy-in from parents.

Both reflect poorly on Mr. Finch. Yes, it would have been nice to see more parents participate, but ultimately, if my dumb *** can figure out that you need buy-in from angry parents, and that some parents just wanted to be heard, and that you might need to explain the why of something to the crowd, then it should have been obvious for someone in Finch's position.

Note that I am not addressing the possibility that there were some parents who were just out for blood, or wanted to place blame, either on the administration or individual teachers. (And while the above may be true of some parents, it certainly can't be true of all parents.) Rather, I am addressing the use of small groups and how that use appears to have been communicated to the crowd. Or something; all the caffeine is really failing to make up for my lack of sleep today.


Anonymous said...

Some of these parents keep saying how smart they are, how educated they are, how much they just want to be recognized and valued.
If they don't understand the reason behind small groups--which century is this?--and they only want to blast the people they want to take them seriously--how's that working in their other relationships???--why on earth are you defending them as if they are just poor helpless uninformed people who we should try to buy out--I mean get to buy-in to what is going on?
You negate their own argument that they don't need to be coddled.

Anonymous said...

Small groups have been used in organizations since at least the 1980's, but this was not a "small group" occasion -- and a cardinal rule of organizational meeting facilitation is that if the majority of the group desires a format change, you CHANGE THE FORMAT.

Finch just showed his ignorance by doing otherwise.

Dennis said...

I'm not defending parents as being helpless or uninformed. I'm saying that in this particular situation, it sure looks like Finch should have known better.

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