A-Z of Ethical Communication in Education: D is for Discussion

 Discussion

‘the action or process of talking about something in order to reach a decision or to exchange ideas.’ ‘a conversation or debate about a specific topic.’

Discussion is important to us all, as it can provide a platform to have our thoughts and opinions heard whilst also hearing others. Be that professionally or socially.  The art of discussion can often be dismissed and put aside because those who are the ‘loudest’ get heard or that the discussion becomes heated when people have differing ideas, spilling over into argument.  

So how can an ethical organisation get around this, providing its staff with a safe enough place or opportunities to discuss, exchange ideas and find solutions instead of shutting down these activities and making decisions in private… just dishing out jobs, activities, roles, rules, systems?

My exposure to this was when writing the whole school Behaviour Policy.   It was very clear to me that my colleague and I needed staff to be part of this process rather than ‘it’ being a reference document in a cupboard/computer file somewhere.  So we held staff and students meetings and created sub-committees to discuss specific areas of the policy, different members of staff in different departments and levels had responsibility for parts of it. This gave light to many discussions but it also meant that staff knew the content and context of the document as they had been part of it.  Of course the discussions were specific and had an aim/outcome attached to them but this proved a highly successful way of having staff involved rather than trying to do things quickly in a singular fashion.

Fearing and avoiding discussion will only lead to further ‘discussion’ behind closed doors, in the staff room, on the corridors.

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