Critical Friends Group

Upcoming CFG Coaches Seminar!

August 24-27, 2015

Times: 8:30 amto 4:30 PM
Location: PCC CLIMB Center
Cost: $725

Register now! 

Critical Friends Groups (CFGs) are the product of a simple idea; providing deliberate time and structures to promote adult professional growth that is directly linked to student learning. CFG’s provide educators and schools with specific tools, structures, and resources to support safe and effective collaborative learning linked to classroom practice.   By examining student and adult work through collaborative reflection, educators hold themselves accountable for continuous improvement toward helping every student learn.

Of value to all leaders in education, facilitative leadership skills, built through participation in CFGs, engage school communities in work worth doing, foster a focused school community, and build a collaborative and reflective culture in schools.

CFG members are committed to making their practice public to one another, to being reflective, and to holding each other accountable for meeting the needs and interests of all students.  Through critical friendship, educators share resources and ideas, support each other in implementing new practices, and build relationships among colleagues characterized by mutual trust and freedom from judgment, while keeping a keen focus on issues of equity.  They most often work in on-going, collaborative groups where they freely discuss each other’s practice with the intention of improving student learning.

Essential questions CFG members ask themselves include:

  • How do I engage in and facilitate adult dialogue and collaboration that results in higher levels of learning for all students, and especially, for those students who are struggling and/or who are under served?
  • How can teacher collaboration reduce/eliminate the predictive value of race and class on student success in school and in life?
  • What is the role of risk-taking in adult learning?
  • How do adult collaboration, reflective discourse, and de-privatized practice support student achievement?
  • What are the collegial conversations that make a difference?

We consider this work to be integral to the transformation of schools. OCEE hosts Critical Friends trainings on a regular basis, provides support to existing groups, and provides professional development opportunities related to the further development of collegial relationships.  We whole-heartedly recommend our 5-day Coaches Institute for administrators, teacher leaders, and district office personnel as the skills and tools in the training are immediately applicable to committee, leadership and whole staff meetings in addition to teacher collaboration.

Critical Friends Coaching and Support

If you are trying to get a CFG going in your school and don’t have a trained CFG coach to run it, or just need an infusion of new energy into your group, we can help!

We have trained CFG facilitators who can contract with you to:

  • · facilitate a CFG in your school or district
  • · introduce new protocols and tools to your active CFG
  • · facilitate presentations to staff about CFG work
  • · facilitate difficult conversations that need external support
  • · help you think through new ways to work with your CFG
  • · provide resources and research for topics of discussion in your CFG

Please contact us to let us know how we can support your CFG work.

Cross-District Critical Friends

Are you in need of a CFG group? Come join us!

Sometimes for whatever reason, it just doesn’t work to get Critical Friends going in your building. Other times you need fresh perspective from folks outside your school or district to discuss your issues. We are currently offering regional administrator and teacher-based Critical Friends Groups. These groups meet on a monthly basis during the school year, offering you an opportunity to expand your professional network, build your Critical Friends skills, and get critical feedback on the dilemmas in your practice. Participation is free.

Want to find out more? Please contact us!