Thursday, 7 February 2013

The Big Question

This week, we introduced a concept we are calling 'The Big Question', where we elect a single, complex question or problem that we as a staff will 'ponder' for a number of weeks, before revisiting the nominated question / problem down the track for thorough discussion.

There were a few reasons why we wanted to try something like this...


Schools tend to be notoriously busy places, often with little time and opportunity for deep thought, reflection and discussion about issues. The sheer quantity of decisions and tasks we have to deal with often leads to an efficiency mindset - useful for completing a high number of tasks and decisions, but perhaps less so for dealing with complex tasks and decisions in a quality fashion. 
We wanted to provide time and space for deeper, more thorough thought, reflection and discussion.


Whilst many people are inherently suited to fast-paced, instinctive decision-making and are naturally confident about airing their views in group settings 'on the spot', many others prefer time for reflection, often in quiet, individual settings. 

Improved decisions

Big, important questions and problems deserve well considered responses and decisions, rather than 'snap' judgements. 
Providing time and a suitable context for all people to develop and flesh out their views will better-enable the full range of perspectives to be considered and lead to more informed and more democratic decisions.


So, how we are trialing this is by having staff 'vote' for one of a selection of 'potential' big questions, then giving time [the duration of this first school term] and space [probably an online, forumish space... ] for their individual viewpoints to 'percolate', before revisiting the question early next term for thorough discussion.

If being realistic, not everybody will engage with this and drag themselves from the busyness of day-to-day school life, but hopefully we will get a few people to 'lift their eyes' and spend some time thinking about the bigger picture...  


  1. Very cool idea ... reflection is important, you are a legend for thinking about a way to promote it amidst the craziness.

    1. Thanks Bill. Like I say, I'm probably kidding myself if I think everyone will be on board with this, but worth a try to improve the quality of our professional reflections...