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Reflecting on and Revising Norms, Goals and Progress

Reflecting on and Revising Norms, Goals and Progress


In this lesson, students evaluate the process for reflection and revising norms, goals, and progress.

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Video Transcription

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Hello there and welcome. In this lesson, we will evaluate the process for reflection and revising norms, goals, and progress in a PLC and how doing these things will make your organization stronger and more productive. Let's get started. Even if you're not a football fan, chances are you're watching the Super Bowl. As you know, it has become an event, almost a holiday.

It is, of course, the end of a long, often brutal, season to determine the best team in the league is. Casual fans may not know something that happens a few weeks later. The NFL Rules Committee gets together and proposes certain changes they want to make to the game. However, a certain number of team owners have to agree to it before it happens. Some notable changes over the years have been the challenge flag to dispute calls, the two-point conversion, and this year they are moving the extra point attempt further back. If you consider the rules and norms, it's pretty much the same thing we do at our meanings in schools.

Ongoing and honest reflection finds its way in almost all things having to do with learning, and that includes any planning process. This is even more so in site-based management systems. It's vital that reflection and evaluation of all practices and protocols that are in place happens. Also, in order to have the information to make any adjustments to practices along the way, review of the progress and reflecting on norms are an important step that should not be ignored.

A question always worth asking is, are the norms we have in place encouraging and supporting the behaviors necessary to make progress toward our goals and are those goals bringing us closer to meeting the mission and vision of the team, school, and district? I would like to point out that alignment is embedded in this question and how it sets the tone for everyone pulling in the same direction. When conducting a reflection and review, it is important to have both types of data, qualitative and quantitative.

Whether it's student achievement data or any other identified data, for that matter, it needs to be evaluated by a team. Also as a team, the question should be asked, are we moving in the right direction? Is the data moving closer to the point established as the goal? In addition, the team should consider if their meetings are effective by asking the following questions. Be warned, you may find some of these questions may lead to difficult conversations.

First, what is the level of conflict during meetings and how do we handle that? Do meetings start and end on time? Are members meeting the expectations and requirements for participation with fidelity? Are members actively listening and treating one another with respect? Is the team focusing on goals or obstacles? I like to translate this one into, do you want to be part of the problem or part of the solution? Are we reviewing data and engaging in problem-solving dialogue when the time comes to make decisions? And finally, are norms violations being addressed as they occur?

A helpful tool to use when reviewing both quantitative and qualitative data is the plus/minus/delta protocol. Administrators are using this with teachers and teachers are using this with students. A plus/minus/delta is quite simply a graphic organizer that allows a team to review strategies that are working or share what is getting in the way of their progress. The final piece is the delta, which helps initiate change toward improvement.

Here are the three specific questions when using plus/minus/delta. First, are the established norms working to support our approach? What behaviors are counterproductive or getting in the way of meeting our goals? What can we do differently to move us closer to our goal and remove barriers to achieving our goal?

Let's go ahead and walk through an example of a plus/minus/delta as we revise a set of norms. First we'll review the established norms, and they are as follows-- equity of voice, use technology respectfully, meetings will begin and end at designated times, the team will focus on solutions, and members will bring documentation. Next we'll ask the team, how are the norms helping to support the achievement of our goals?

In this case, the established times keep us focused. Technology helps us pull up and sort data. Participants have the opportunity to share. We will do the same for the norms of behaviors that are preventing the team from achieving goals. Language of team members isn't always positive. Documentation brought by team is inconsistent and at times irrelevant.

Now the team will brainstorm suggested behaviors to help the team move closer to their goal-- create and post positive stems, review proper terminology that should be used, be specific in terms of the documentation that is needed. Have the team rank the suggestions an order of importance or value. Come to consensus on the norms that need to be replaced. Revise the team norms using consensus. Replace the norms on the wall to memorialize the change and celebrate the team's collaborative work on establishing more effective behaviors or norms.

So it's time to go ahead and summarize what we did in this lesson. It was all about norms. We began by discussing the importance of evaluating norms, then we looked at the important role that teamwork and collaboration have. We introduced a strategy called plus/minus/delta and modeled how to use it. In our example we reflected on a set of norms.

Here's today's food for thought. The next time you're in a meeting that hasn't established norms, consider what's working and what's not. Now it's your turn to apply what you've learned in this video. The additional resources section will be extremely helpful to you. This section is designed to help you discover useful ways to apply what you've learned here. Each link includes a brief description so you can easily target the resources that you want. Thank you so much for watching. We'll see you next time.

Notes on "Reflecting on and Revising Norms, Goals and Progress"

(00:00-00:15) Intro

(00:16-01:00) Changing The Rules

(01:01-01:58) Evaluating Norms

(01:59-03:15) Teamwork in Norms

(03:16-04:02) Plus, Minus, Delta

(04:03-05:32) Example

(05:33-06:21) Food For Thought/Summary

Additional Resources

Process Tips for Plus/Delta

Montgomery County Public Schools has established this tip sheet for conducting Plus, Minus, Delta. It is a quick and easy overview of the process to follow. Click on the link in order to download the document.

Plus, Minus, Delta
DocStoc offers a blank template for use when conducting a Plus, Minus Delta. Many readily available templates include only the Plus and Delta, but it is important to specifically call out the (-) or what is not working before offering a strategy for change.