Critical Friends / by Krista Boivie

Once a month at work, the teachers meet with each other and discuss projects, concerns, and general school info.  The past couple of months most of the presentations have been about the various large learning based projects the content area teachers will be having their students complete. Today, we had another meeting and during these discussion sessions we complete something called a 'Critical Friends' session. 

Here are the steps to Critical Friends

  1. Present idea or project
  2. Group (or friend) asks clarifying questions to make sure they understand the idea/project
  3. Respond to the clarifying questions
  4. Group/friend shares the strengths of the idea and then brings up issues, concerns, or suggestions to improve on it.
  5. Individual has a chance to respond

What I like about the process is that the person presenting gets the opportunity to work in a collaborative environment and get useful feedback on what they are working on.  Plus, I love hearing about what other teachers are working on with their students--it makes me wish that I was back in the classroom--learning again. 

Over the past few weeks I have been so busy trying to finish some long-standing projects that I have abandoned my social life and my friends.  I think some of my pent of frustration recently is due to the fact that I haven't been brainstorming with my friends like I usually do.

If you have been struggling to get a project off the ground or wondering how you could improve, try out the critical friends strategy and see if this helps.