Truth in Society

November 1, 1994

Prompt #34

Now that we're up a level

Last time, everyone left with the assignment to produce a "statement of undertaking" for today, on what work your smaller group was willing to undertake on behalf of the whole focus group, or, in other words, what angle on the subject or particular interest your working group might explore more deeply and reflect on more extensively. Those statements should be in Q: drive.

We expect that groups will have had varying degrees of difficulty with this. Some groups were pretty cohesive from the beginning, in part because the larger group took more seriously and reflectively the task last week of reflecting on patterns among the various readings. In other cases, groups may have perhaps encountered real difficulties finding patterns among the various readings and the reports on them. Today we have a chance to think again about the ways in which the statements of undertaking effectively define useful tasks for the working groups.

To begin with, today, each focus group will get copies of the *.SOU reports of the working groups. You should read the various reports, decide whether they represent a good and useful way to create a range of approaches to your subject, and revise the working group's statements as necessary. By 2:00, be ready to report, as a whole focus group, to the rest of the class, on what you're all doing to make sense of the episode you're studying. We'll have a whole-class meeting from 2:00, in which each focus group will have a chance to explain in as much detail as they can where they are, how they've split into smaller working groups, and what the working groups are doing. You can present in any way you'd like; we'll give each focus group between 15 minutes and a half hour for their explanation. After each presentation, we'll inkshed about the group's work and discuss it. The inksheds will be given to the focus group.

The reasons for reading, reflecting and writing in this way today include (a) to give the whole focus group a say in what the working groups are doing, and (b) to begin the process of sharing ideas and responses with the other groups.

As you may have noticed, we're asking people to do a rather different kind of thinking about the issues than we have previously -- that's what we mean by talking about being, or getting, "up a level." Today, we want to try to make a bit more explicit some of the reflecting you've been doing on your reading and how it fits with and compares to the reading others have been doing.

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