Preparation

How do we begin to prepare for our meetings?
What difference does it make when they happen suddenly?
How do you prepare for meetings you didn’t expect to be in?
What are the needs of the people involved and how can they be accommodated?
Does choosing the physical meeting space matter?
How do we help participants prepare? Is an invitation enough?
How can we prepare the physical meeting space for a productive meeting?
These questions might be helpful to consider when preparing for school meetings. Considering the space before the meeting begins reduces anxiety and allows participants to feel seen and contribute to feelings of equity. Sometimes receiving a meeting invitation is not enough to make a participant feel welcome. Developing a therapeutic relationship means considering what happens before meetings.
Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

Ways to Support Meeting Preparation

Share the agenda before the meeting.
Avoid adding new agenda points without the knowledge of all attendees.
Give people a chance to think about how they can contribute to the agenda.
Think about how much time is given for the meeting. Is it realistic?
Think about the needs of the people involved. Is an hour too long or too short?
Maybe mini-meetings are an option?
Consider who will lead, if anyone.
How will different viewpoints be considered?
How will time boundaries be held?
What cultural, societal or other factors might affect how the meeting progresses?

Goal Setting

In school meetings the goals are the things that one intends to achieve. This can be observational or measurable, conscious or unconscious. Studies on goal setting show that this practice has the ability to steer and improve outcomes (23).

Conscious goals may be agreed between the parties:

“We want to create a way forward to help support Max at home.”
“We have created a revision plan and need your help.”
“We have to discuss and think about the transition to the new school.”

Sometimes these are not agreed upon but are imposed:

“He needs to improve his grades.”
“This behaviour needs to change.”
“We want to have more homework set by the teacher.”
“She has to revise regularly.”

And sometimes these goals are unconscious or unspoken:

“I want to expose you as someone who doesn’t care about my child.”
“I want to confirm you aren’t helping your child at home.”
In all situations, it is worth considering if these goals are helpful or unhelpful, and how all the parties can be given space to contribute to the goals of the meeting.
It is worth considering:
Whose goals are prioritised?
How do you measure the success of a meeting?
Do people always have the skills or tools they need to achieve the goals set?
How do you set realistic goals?
Who do the aims of the meeting benefit the most?
Is there equity in the setting of goals?
Who gets to set the goals for the meeting?