The Art of Hosting

Interesting events that work with the AoH framework, the methods, dialogue...

Harvest and reflection of events we hosted or attended...

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Here are reflections from a training in Denmark where the participants are the stakeholders of primary and secondary schools:

http://fremtidensfolkeskole.wordpress.com/

It is in Danish, but all the text you kan translate in google translate - other wise I hope you will enjoy the pictures.... I can tell you it was a great success and that we are working for a nother one i sep 2012 in Copenhagen.

How do we create fresh models for 21st education in developing countries?

An open space conference to bring a collision of ideas, conversations and solutions for change.

Innovate Rwanda 2012 is an Open Space conference to be held in Musanze, northern Rwanda, on May 24-26, 2012 (near Volcanoes National Park & the mountain gorillas).

Are you an educator? Policy creator? Architect? Computer company? Not-for-Profit? Innovative thinker? Thought leader? Furniture designer? Philanthropist?

Innovate Rwanda 2012 will be an international collision of ideas, conversations & solutions with the goal of creating fresh models for 21st century education in developing countries. It is an opportunity of a lifetime for you to bring a lifetime of opportunity for them.

The conference is still in the planning stages, organised by Sydney Centre for Innovation in Learning.

To express interest in being involved in some way, or to be kept informed as more details are released, please contact Anne Knock via email: learn@scil.nsw.edu.au

http://scil.com.au/rwanda

Greetings from Canada.

I am a process host - staff development consultant with my city's public school district (www.epsb.ca).  We're currently in the initial stages of a restructuring of our service delivery and staff development to principals and teaching staff.  Midweek I had the privilege to host an event with 10 leaders and 50 of their lead teacher colleagues from elementary (K-Gr6), junior or middle (Gr7-9) and senior high (Gr10-12) schools within this newly structured "catchment area" (all schools feed into each other). 

Their big goal - to build cross site relationships, common language, and consistent pedagogical practice and services to ease the transition of students and their families across schools to ultimately to meet the district's goal of having all students reach their potential. become creative, engaged citizens and complete senior high school.  The day's goal, to begin that colleagial, cross site relationship building and conversation to prepare for a whole group (400 all staff, all sites) learning event in six weeks, where they would be leading some of the sessions.

 

We began in World Cafe, with the assistant superintendent to which all these schools report, opening the day, giving an overview of the scope and intent of the reorg, emphasizing how this group was "ahead of the curve" in implementation, by the very fact they were meeting in this way.  Then two of the principals gave, in idiosyncratic, conversational style (ie - no powerpoints!) their take on their work as leaders that brought us to the day, with the invitation that now this group would take it to the next level....whatever that might be.

 

Three questions for three rounds of conversation: 

  1. What grabbed your attention in what you've just heard? - has you want to jump in? or hesitate?
  2. How does this align with your current practice and what you already know?
  3. What does this mean for the big learning event in six weeks?

Themes surfaced and were explored in large group conversation, energy was stoked as staff realized they were steering the ship and were told the principals' role was to be curious and to clarify, if needed - that they may or may not join in the conversations.  (Very unusual as staff often feel "managed".)

 

Then to other side of the room, set for an Open Space.  Within 20 minutes, 12 questions were posted.  Conversations began and continued through lunch.  Principals spontaneously convened to share their observations, make meaning of the themes, and support each other in surrendering to the high energy chaos, and process.  They knew something different, and great was happening.  Their "boss" was taking it all in - amazing that he stayed most of the day as usually, one in his role would give greetings and be off.  He, too, knew he was seeing a manifestation of the reorg's intent.

 

After lunch all re-convened to the circle - to report back.  Convergence as themes became apparent in preparation for the next level of conversation: planning the big learning event.  The original plan was to have them meet in cross site, cross grade level subject groups.  What about a group to give shape to the overall design?  What if we met to delve into the themes that surfaced from the Cafe?  Why not do it all?  "Either-or" always moved to "both-and" - creating space -  the principals shared the "min specs" to frame that possibility.  In forty minutes, plans were hatched, commitments made.  Energy never waned.

 

All chairs in a circle, waiting for to reconvene.  Patience after the bell as engagement was still high...still cooking.  Then fluidly each host shared the ideas.  Clarifying questions and responses.  Principals exclaiming that what had taken them weeks, this group had accomplished in a day. 

 

Checking out via circle: What is an impression you're taking...a question you're sitting with?

Every one spoke. 

"The most engaged I've every been in a professional learning event."

"I now know my students have a chance because I felt welcomed, that I had a voice around the table and I know they will, too."

"Authentic, meaningful, real."

"You empowered us to create something we know will appeal to our colleagues."

"Can we do this over again with everyone?  Because this is the way to go!"

"I'm doing a World Cafe with my Grade 12 students on Friday."

 

My colleague wove technology in for the harvest, scribed key comments and took photos that we'll weave into a movie.  A "share site" was developed for the Open Space and subsequent planning conversation notes.  This will be an ongoing archive to seed next steps and hold ideas, artifacts and products, accessible to all within the catchment area, and most likely cross district.

 

When I reflect on the day, its energy, joy, the possibilities realized and envisioned, I know trust played a part - the trust the principals had in themselves to "walk their talk" about shared leadership; the trust they had in each other as leaders to share their vulnerabilitiees, their curiousity, their enthusiasm - to hold each other through the chaos through emergence into a viable "what next" plan and be transparent in their uncertainty with their staff -"we don't have the answers - we're co-creating with you"; the trust they had with their staff; and their trust in my colleague and me who hosted, stayed nimble and fluid, created and held space, and helped them harvest. 

 

For me, an opening, an opportunity to re-turn to the work I love.

 

Thank you for this space to reflect, write and share.  Namaste.

This is wonderful, bold work, Katharine! As all of us who are called to work in education know, "active engagement" is a sought-for 21st century goal. What you offered in this situation was an embodiment of engagement that was felt to be authentic, meaningful and real. Now thats LEARNING! I'm so happy that you discovered a moment to seize, to re-turn.

Katharine Weinmann said:

Greetings from Canada.

I am a process host - staff development consultant with my city's public school district (www.epsb.ca).  We're currently in the initial stages of a restructuring of our service delivery and staff development to principals and teaching staff.  Midweek I had the privilege to host an event with 10 leaders and 50 of their lead teacher colleagues from elementary (K-Gr6), junior or middle (Gr7-9) and senior high (Gr10-12) schools within this newly structured "catchment area" (all schools feed into each other). 

Their big goal - to build cross site relationships, common language, and consistent pedagogical practice and services to ease the transition of students and their families across schools to ultimately to meet the district's goal of having all students reach their potential. become creative, engaged citizens and complete senior high school.  The day's goal, to begin that colleagial, cross site relationship building and conversation to prepare for a whole group (400 all staff, all sites) learning event in six weeks, where they would be leading some of the sessions.

 

We began in World Cafe, with the assistant superintendent to which all these schools report, opening the day, giving an overview of the scope and intent of the reorg, emphasizing how this group was "ahead of the curve" in implementation, by the very fact they were meeting in this way.  Then two of the principals gave, in idiosyncratic, conversational style (ie - no powerpoints!) their take on their work as leaders that brought us to the day, with the invitation that now this group would take it to the next level....whatever that might be.

 

Three questions for three rounds of conversation: 

  1. What grabbed your attention in what you've just heard? - has you want to jump in? or hesitate?
  2. How does this align with your current practice and what you already know?
  3. What does this mean for the big learning event in six weeks?

Themes surfaced and were explored in large group conversation, energy was stoked as staff realized they were steering the ship and were told the principals' role was to be curious and to clarify, if needed - that they may or may not join in the conversations.  (Very unusual as staff often feel "managed".)

 

Then to other side of the room, set for an Open Space.  Within 20 minutes, 12 questions were posted.  Conversations began and continued through lunch.  Principals spontaneously convened to share their observations, make meaning of the themes, and support each other in surrendering to the high energy chaos, and process.  They knew something different, and great was happening.  Their "boss" was taking it all in - amazing that he stayed most of the day as usually, one in his role would give greetings and be off.  He, too, knew he was seeing a manifestation of the reorg's intent.

 

After lunch all re-convened to the circle - to report back.  Convergence as themes became apparent in preparation for the next level of conversation: planning the big learning event.  The original plan was to have them meet in cross site, cross grade level subject groups.  What about a group to give shape to the overall design?  What if we met to delve into the themes that surfaced from the Cafe?  Why not do it all?  "Either-or" always moved to "both-and" - creating space -  the principals shared the "min specs" to frame that possibility.  In forty minutes, plans were hatched, commitments made.  Energy never waned.

 

All chairs in a circle, waiting for to reconvene.  Patience after the bell as engagement was still high...still cooking.  Then fluidly each host shared the ideas.  Clarifying questions and responses.  Principals exclaiming that what had taken them weeks, this group had accomplished in a day. 

 

Checking out via circle: What is an impression you're taking...a question you're sitting with?

Every one spoke. 

"The most engaged I've every been in a professional learning event."

"I now know my students have a chance because I felt welcomed, that I had a voice around the table and I know they will, too."

"Authentic, meaningful, real."

"You empowered us to create something we know will appeal to our colleagues."

"Can we do this over again with everyone?  Because this is the way to go!"

"I'm doing a World Cafe with my Grade 12 students on Friday."

 

My colleague wove technology in for the harvest, scribed key comments and took photos that we'll weave into a movie.  A "share site" was developed for the Open Space and subsequent planning conversation notes.  This will be an ongoing archive to seed next steps and hold ideas, artifacts and products, accessible to all within the catchment area, and most likely cross district.

 

When I reflect on the day, its energy, joy, the possibilities realized and envisioned, I know trust played a part - the trust the principals had in themselves to "walk their talk" about shared leadership; the trust they had in each other as leaders to share their vulnerabilitiees, their curiousity, their enthusiasm - to hold each other through the chaos through emergence into a viable "what next" plan and be transparent in their uncertainty with their staff -"we don't have the answers - we're co-creating with you"; the trust they had with their staff; and their trust in my colleague and me who hosted, stayed nimble and fluid, created and held space, and helped them harvest. 

 

For me, an opening, an opportunity to re-turn to the work I love.

 

Thank you for this space to reflect, write and share.  Namaste.

Thank YOU, Marg.  And I just received the following from the teacher of a Grade 12 Social class who applied the World Cafe with her students on Friday.  

The Social 30 World Café went very well on Friday. I had the room set up into six groupings – had tablecloths and snacks on the tables and set out the expectations for the activity re: collective wisdom and collective responsibility which is actually a concept from our course. I used the process as a review prior to a unit exam. Harvesting time gave me the opportunity to clarify any misunderstanding with regards to content. All in all a great activity and the students loved it. I also shared this strategy on Friday morning at the Social Studies Department Head meeting. I will be sure to follow up with them just how it went in the afternoon.

 

Hi, I have started hosting an intergenerational FutureLearningSpace at a school in Berlin last Monday. Until June, we will have weekly sessions of 90 minutes with 14 boys, interested parents, teachers, sustainability project leaders, etc. We are a hosting team of 6 people...

You can find more info in German here (hoping to add some English reflection, soon, as well):

Einladung ZukunftsLernraum

Einführungsveranstaltung

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