Posts tagged ‘Opportunities’

Conducting Focus Groups in Education

“We all need people who will give us feedback. That’s how we improve.” By Bill Gates

Why Use Focus Groups?

Focus groups are a great way to gain consensus or to use for improvement from different stakeholders such as teachers, students and/or parents. Having a set protocol will help the time you are holding the focus group be intentional based on what you are trying to gather feedback on for improvement. 

For example in my classroom, I ran focus groups on obtaining different feedback from projects to  overall class structure. With teachers, I ran focus groups to improve professional development by gaining their insights. With schools from my district I ran a focus group to gather feedback on an initiative to see how I could improve it.

Protocol Notes
Before The Focus Group
  • Outline goal
  • Determine questions* and time limit
  • Define roles:
    • Facilitator
    • Note Taker/Timer
  • Decide on space:
    • comfortable and circle setting
  • Invite participants to the focus group
During The Focus Group
  • Take attendance of who is participating
    • This can be anonymous such as 6 boys and 5 girls.
  • Review guidelines and moderate the session so that everyone gets a chance to speak and no one participant dominates the discussion.**
After The Focus Group
  • Compile all focus group data (if you hold multiple sessions)
  • Review the notes as soon as possible and fill in any gaps while the session is still clear in your mind.
  • Report out findings***

*When generating questions make sure:

  • They are open-ended and not “yes/no”
  • They are short and to the point
  • Max of 10 questions, 5-8 is ideal
  • You should have an opening question and exit question

**Script for Facilitator:

Welcome everyone, our topic is…. The results will be used for…

Guidelines:

  • No right or wrong answers
  • one person speaking at a time as we are recording your answers anonymously
  • You don’t need to agree with others, but you must listen respectfully as others share their views
  • As Facilitator I will help guide the discussion

Examples to help participants expand ideas/thoughts….

  • “Please tell me (more) about that…”?
  • “Could you explain what you mean by…”?
  • “Can you tell me something else about…”?
  • “Could you give me an example of …”?

***Report out findings:

  • Populate exact statements of the participants
  • Descriptive summary
  • In order to have valid data, you need to have at least a few focus groups with the same questions being asked
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My 2013 EDU New Year’s Resolutions

“We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.” by Edith Lovejoy Pierce

As I reflect and review my 2012, Education New Year’s Resolution goals blog post, I am proud I have accomplished all of them. I am excited to think about what 2013 will bring. While pondering about what my New Year’s Resolution goals for 2013 would be, I found this video about ‘The Science of New Year’s Resolutions’ by @docmikeevans and it was too good not to pass along.

My New Year’s Resolutions for 2013 are:

1. Learn, master and provide PD on implementing challenge based learning in the classroom.

2. Take more risks, learn from my mistakes and failures and not sweat the small stuff.

3. Continue to learn through reading, researching, blogging, connecting and most importantly listening to others.

With a new year, comes bigger challenges and opportunities. Beat the challenges and grab the opportunities, with an equal zeal. Happy New Year Everyone!

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