What? So what? now what?
Deepen conversations and thinking with Liberating Structures
On May 21, Leyton Schnellert will present “Using Liberating Structures in Middle Years Classrooms to Deepen Learning” at the myPITA/BCATML Spring Mini-Conference. Liberating structures are strategies to facilitate conversations, which lead to increasing engagement, depth of sharing, and idea generation among participants.
An example of a liberating structure is W3, which is a great debriefing strategy to use after a shared experience, progress check-in, and to generate ways of moving forwards on a repeated or long-term task. In your classroom, it can be an effective way to identify positive group work skills, have students dive in-depth into observations about a character’s actions and how they are portrayed by an author, or to assess the success of an ADST project.
The fundamentals of the W3 liberating structure comes down to small groups answering three basic questions:
What? In answering the “What?” question, students look carefully at the facts of a situation, describing them as concretely as they can. Prompting questions might be: What happened? What did you notice? What facts or observations stood out? By listing them all out, students work at establishing the verifiable elements of an experience or observed situation.
So What? Having established what happened, the next step is to establish the value these observations have? Why is it important? Are there any patterns to see here? Why do we think those events or facts occurred? Are there ways to group these facts together that make sense and help us understand how events unfolded?
Now What? The final stage of the W3 liberating structure is to generate future actions. Given the ideas from the So What, what changes can be made to how students address future endeavours in the same vein, or what might be their predictions for future actions or events in a novel, based on past information and characterizations.
This is just one of many Liberating Structures, all of which have a variety of potential uses in the classroom to help increase productive conversations and deepen student reflections. Learn more about Liberating Structures by registering for Leyton's session (or another) on May 21 at http://spring-mypita.ourconference.ca.
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