Documentation:ISW/Lesson Plan/Theme Session/Classroom Conflict World Cafe

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This lesson focuses on sharing approaches and strategies for challenging classroom situations. It uses a World Cafe method for the activity process and The Solve a Teaching Problem from the Eberly Center Teaching Excellence & Educational Innovation. This lesson can be a useful addition to the final day of the ISW, as it has a fairly broad and constructive focus.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this workshop learners will be able to

  • Develop a list of possible reasons for and strategies for common classroom challenges using a World Cafe format
  • Share and discuss classroom challenges that they face in their teaching practice
  • Analyze a classroom challenge, identifying the problem, the reasons and explore strategies

Activity 1

Facilitator mentions that today they will be sharing our common classroom challenges, identifying possible reasons for these challenges and work together to come up with strategies to approach these and that the group will be using a World Cafe approach to do this. "What challenges do you currently face in your classroom?" The facilitator elicits two or three responses and writes these on a flip chart. "What might the reasons for these for these challenges?" Facilitator writes down the possible reasons. "Now looking at these reasons what strategies could be used?"

Activity 2


Facilitator tells participants that they will now be gathering and selecting classroom challenges from their teaching context. a) Participants spend 3 minutes and write down 3 classroom challenges they have on a large-post it note. They then stick these post it notes up on a the wall/flip chart OR whiteboard. As they put these up they cluster them according to similar challenges. The facilitator debriefs this activity by working with participants to further cluster and name each cluster according to their similarities i.e. Student Attention

Sorting: (Dotmocracy)

The facilitator leads the group through a dotmocracy explaining that through this process they will select which process to focus on for the World Cafe. Each participant is provided with 3 dots and can use them for voting on which problem they would like to focus on. Note: Participants can add all 3 dots to a single set of challenges OR divide the dots between different challenges. Based on this voting process the facilitator writes up three - 4 flip charts with the Problem at the Top.

Activity 3

World Cafe

For the World Cafe set up the facilitators put one flip chart on each table with the title of each of the challenges written on the top of it. For this activity participants are told they are completing a World Cafe, an approach used to gather information, and ideas. A group of 3 - 4 participants will start at each table. One person will need to be a scribe and they are responsible for recording the conversation. Each group discuss the challenge and determines potential reasons for this challenge and possible strategies that flow from this. After 10 minutes the participants move to a new table; they leave one person at each table to brief the new group on the discussion. After changing tables the newly formed groups work together continuing the conversation and adding to the flip chart as they go.

After participants have had the opportunity to work with each of the challenges, participants put up their completed flip chart on the wall. The facilitator debriefs the session by focusing the group on each of the challenge and discussing reasons and strategies that came up. Possible facilitator questions:

  1. What reasons resonated with you?
  2. Which challenges were similar to the ones that you are dealing with?
  3. Are there additional strategies that could be used


Guide participants through a single teaching problem on the berly Center Teaching Excellence & Educational Innovation site. Show the problem-reason and strategies.