Question Cube Conversation Starters to Support Reflective Staff Conversations

Conversation starter cubes are great ways for teachers to practice active listening and reflective responding
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Question Cube Conversation Starters to Support Reflective Staff Conversations
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About This Strategy

This strategy supports a structured activity for staff to engage in reflective conversations in an indirect yet intentional manner. The goal is for teachers and staff to reflect on personal beliefs and habits and to learn how to listen first when a reflection is shared. This strategy can be used individually, in a small group, or even as a whole staff. 

Implementation Steps

  1. Begin by creating a question cube (the Cube template can be found in the resources section below).

    • Identify what questions you would like staff to discuss, and add these to the squares on the cube.

    • The middle square of the cube can be saved so the cube can be labeled by topic. 

    • Consider creating various "levels" of cubes, so that staff can begin with easier topics, and can build to more challenging questions as trust is built. 

  2. Depending on the purpose of your session, consider pulling from the following questions: 

    • General 

      • Donuts or bacon? Why?

      • My love language is...

      • Three items on my bucket list are… because…

      • Describe your best friend without using their name.

      • I was named after…

    • Implicit bias

      • We should all be colorblind. Agree or Disagree? Why?

      • When I walk into a room of strangers I look for… Why?

      • The American dream is attainable by all. Agree or Disagree? Why?

      • Boy Scouts now accepts girls. Agree or disagree with this policy change? Why?

      • Blondes have more fun. Why or why not?

    • The Arts

      • When is art art? When it's made or when it's professionally declared as art?

      • Finish this statement- Beauty is …

        • Explain why you finished the statement the way you did.

      • Most artists become famous upon death. Agree or Disagree? Why?

      • My favorite artist is… Because…

      • Censorship is appropriate. Agree or Disagree? Why?

    • Learning

      • The 3 R's are antiquated. Agree or Disagree? Why?

      • High stakes tests hold teachers and schools accountable. Agree or Disagree? Why?

      • Language Arts and Math are the only subjects that should be taught. Agree or Disagree? Why?

      • All students should be bilingual by graduation. Agree or disagree? Why?

      • Which came first - Factorization of the workforce or factorization of schools?

    • Post-secondary education

      • Should all Americans have training after high school? Why?

      • College should be free for those who qualify. Why?

      • Infant teachers, CDL drivers and fast food employees should all make the same pay. Why?

      • Apprenticeships should be required for all careers. Why?

      • If a student is failing it's because they aren't working hard enough. Agree or Disagree? Why?

    • Inclusion

      • Most teachers can not meet the needs of all learners inside one classroom at one time. Agree or Disagree? Why?

      • Students with disabilities should be pulled out to be taught by a teacher who is trained in that specific disability. Agree or Disagree? Why?

      • Everyone should be IQ tested. Agree or Disagree? Why?

      • Grades should reflect work ethic. Agree or disagree? Why?

      • All students can achieve proficiency on grade level expectations. Agree or Disagree? Why? 

  3. Introduce the activity to staff. Share with them that the discussion topics on the cube are designed to support both reflective thought and active listening. 

  4. For the traditional whole staff use, staff should be paired using a random pairing method. Have each pair sit knee-to-knee, facing one another, and decide who is speaker #1 and speaker #2. 

  5. In partners, the teachers take turns: Roll the cube, pose the question, and then each member is allowed 60 seconds to answer. Only one member is allowed to talk. The other must remain silent the entire time. If speaker #1 runs out of items to say, the group sits silently while staring at each other until the 60 seconds for that speaker is up.

    • Rationale- many times the listener is focused on what they are going to say when the speaker ends rather than what the speaker is saying. If the listener knows they will still not get to speak even when the speaker is done, the listener begins to practice active listening. Also, many times speakers speak to fill the silence rather than to add more relevant information without realizing it. This activity begins to bring this to awareness of the speaker.

  6. Roll the cube again, ask a new question, and then speaker #2 is given 60 seconds to respond.