GEMS Competitive Edge

The GEMS RoundTable has the competitive edge in two domains:

SYSTEMIC CHANGE/CONTINUOUS WHOLE SCHOOL/ORGANIZATION IMPROVEMENT

"California schools need 'systemic solutions' which “would require huge sums of money,” according to a Rand Corporation report (January 4, 2005, Los Angeles Times). The GEMS RoundTable is a systemic solution that is also low cost and user-friendly:

  • SYSTEMIC - It has the three necessary sufficient conditions to be a systemic solution. It is ICE:
      • I- inclusive: serving all individuals in the group, and all groups in the organization (e.g., in schools: K-12 classrooms, faculty-, PTA-, and district office meetings);
      • C- continuing: fits right into classrooms/meetings as a 30-minute weekly/monthly session;
      • E- emancipatory: proven to increase learning, performance, and community spirit.
  • LOW COST - After about five coached sessions, users (e.g., students, educators, employees, managers, facilitators, etc.) run and revise their programs themselves.
  • USER-FRIENDLY - It is engaging, user-ready, and easily adaptable by users for their own more specific purposes. It is valuable for all schools, whether very advantaged or less advantaged, and for multiple types of organization or community.

EFFECTIVE INSTRUCTION AND GROUP PROCESS METHODS

As an effective group process method, the RoundTable:

  • Develops 2 subject matters at the same time.
    • An Agenda/Subject Matter of Users' Choice: In schools, for example, English, Social Studies, Science, Business, etc. In fact, A K-12 RoundTable can supplement the content- and common core state standards (e. g., http://www.cde.ca.gov/be/st/ )
    • Communication Skills: leadership skills, shared leadership, values clarification, diversity appreciation, equity, authenticity, self-reflective listening/speaking. Also, to the CDE general intended K-12 outcomes of "reading and writing across the curriculum," the RoundTable adds "listening and speaking across the curriculum."
  • Offers about 1296 learning opportunities more than other whole group learning sessions! (In other words: 6 x 6 x 6 x 6 = 1296)
    • Instead of 1 ten-minute "warm-up" activity, the group reviews 6 advance organizers/review routines in users' selected subject matter (agenda OR curriculum) in the same amount of time.
    • About 6 times as many participants have time to present and develop their ideas.
    • Listeners hear more than 6 times as many viewpoints.
    • Instead of 1 teacher/leader as session facilitator, 6 people share the workload and prestige.
  • Combines the best of both directive and cooperative methods!
    • Directive methods (i.e., the lecture models) are efficient, but often alienating: efficient in that they serve large groups, but alienating as few people are able to share or develop their views.
    • Cooperative methods are engaging, but often chaotic. They are engaging for teams of 2-8, but chaotic as they cannot serve the whole class/meeting at once.
    • Dialogue is a large group cooperative model useful for retreats, weekend-, or weeklong- staff development, but sessions require hours, not minutes.

IN A NUTSHELL, the GEMS RoundTable is the first large/whole group cooperative model that fits into schools' and workplaces' existing structures (i.e., classrooms, school meetings, work or community meetings), as a daily, weekly or monthly regular session.  It is an eye-opening new practice in democracy!