Research on Fourth Grade Classroom RoundTables: Steps to a Tool for Systemic School Renewal and Advances in Service Science

Susan Farr Gabriele


Weekly “30/30 RoundTables” (30 minutes, 30 students) were implemented in two Fourth Grade classrooms year-long to determine their potential as tools for systemic school renewal--whether RoundTables were 1- sustainable: engaging and ongoing; 2- inclusive: democratically participatory; and 3- emancipatory: accelerating positive learning.  These three criteria are proposed as necessary and sufficient conditions of an innovation within in an educational service system, in order to best enhance development of school participants as natural systems.  Students took turns leading using a one-page RoundTable script which allots five minutes for the leader’s guide, readings/reviews, and teacher-suggested topic and 25 minutes for student responses--time distributed equally among all. Time-and-task analyses and questionnaire/interviews yielded promising results. RoundTables increased learning opportunities in reliable, measurable ways. Students liked equal turns, being leader, and hearing classmates’ comments. Future studies will: 1- add Faculty-, PTA-, and District-RoundTables to investigate systemic school renewal; and 2- correlate 30+ random RoundTable-using classrooms with STAR scores, predicting measurable group quality and statistical significance.


educational systems; systemic change; systemic renewal

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