No matter how well a team works together, or how well a week goes, there is always an opportunity to learn and improve.
We end every week with a retrospective. It is a dedicated period of time for students & mentors to deliberately reflect together on how we are doing and identify ways to improve.
We have found the simplest & most effective format to run retrospectives is what is called a “stop go continue” meeting.
The whole cohort of students sit in a circle, if space allows, with their mentors. Each student is given time to reflect on the week and identify specific things that we should:
- Stop doing
- Start doing
- Continue doing
The feedback can range broadly from environmental concerns, to timetabling, to feedback on workshops.
Once students have filled a whiteboard with their feedback, an assigned facilitator will read each point and they are discussed by the group. The facilitator should not feel they need to respond to every issue and, except for reading out each point, doesn’t talk more than the others.
An assigned notetaker will take rough minutes of the meeting as well as any action points. The minutes of these meetings are captured in the cohort organisation, forwarded to mentors of future weeks, and used when we review the curriculum. Each action point should be assigned to a particular person and at the beginning of the next SGC, the facilitator will check-in on progress with the assignees.
We also run a smaller “stop go continue” meeting with each project team so they are able to reflect on how their group project work went that week.
During the first two weeks, FAC-staff will offer to facilitate team SGCs or at least ensure that each team has a facilitator and time keeper. The team may want to assign somebody as note taker and have the 4th person play a “reflective” role at the end of the session to provide a closing response to the SGC. The facilitator should not feel they need to respond to every issue and, except for reading out each point, doesn’t talk more than the others
We should always remember that no matter how difficult a project was, we do not default to blaming individuals. We work out as a group root causes behind problems, review the way we work together, and come up with actionable goals that will improve the next project for everyone.