The days are lengthening, azaleas are blooming, wildflowers are emerging, pollen fills the air — it must be springtime in Houston!
As the season of new growth and rebirth, spring is the perfect time to take stock of your activities and plan for the future. What parts of your practice do you need to prune back? What could use a little more nourishment to reach maximum growth? Take some time now to reflect deeply and make the necessary changes, and your efforts will really bear fruit in the coming months.
Are you looking for a new way to help a group discern its values, set priorities, or develop a common language around an issue? Affinity Mapping is a very versatile protocol that encourages group members to see commonalities within the big picture.
Facilitation Hints: Purchase large sticky notes and use markers instead of pens so the participants can comfortably read all of the contributions from several feet away. Be sure to enforce silence during steps two and three to get the full impact of this equitable conversation.
Dear Donna: I was trained five years ago as a CFG coach in Los Angeles by UCLA’s School of Management. I loved it soooo very much. When I came back to Houston and finally found Houston A+ Challenge, I was soooo excited. I've been trying to get into a CFG school ever since.
I'm wondering if you could refer me to any schools that are functioning CFGs. I'm desperate to get back to it. To me, it's the only way to go in education. I'm looking for a change. Could you point me in the right direction?
— SEARCHING IN SOUTHEAST HOUSTON
Dear Searching: I'll respond with more specifics in a personal e-mail, but I wanted to share your letter with the Houston CFG community as a reminder of how transformative Critical Friends Group work can be.
Once you've had a taste of the power of collaboration and reflection, it's hard to go back to business as usual. Best wishes in your search for a school climate that matches your philosophy of education.
If you have questions for Dear Donna, send them to CFGCoach@houstonaplus.org. Donna Reid is a Houston-based National CFG Facilitator and a consultant with Houston A+ Challenge.