Bringing teaching skills into the tech industry — Getting everyone to talk

Article written by our consultant Johan Myrsmeden. Johan is not only a passionate full-stack developer but also an educated teacher.

Do you experience that the same people talk during meetings and workshops? Do you observe many colleagues just sitting there in the room, not presenting their thoughts?

The same problem is present in school; the same students tend to answer the questions asked in the classroom. During my first year as an IT consultant at MPYA Digital, I have been experiencing the phenomenon both at our client’s and at our own meetings.

During my studies in didactics, we talked about something called Think-Pair-Share. The strategy has its roots in cooperative learning and was created by Frank Lyman (1981). The methodology has support from research conducted by Rowe (1986) regarding the effects of giving students time to think about a question before answering it, instead of hurrying to the next question. By giving every student more time to think, the probability that they do so will increase. Otherwise, if you know that Mary will answer the question, why should you do the effort to think about it yourself?

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The Think-Pair-Share-method is as follows. When a question is asked, at first the participants think for a certain amount of time. Then the participants form pairs where they discuss their answers to the question or their views. Finally, the opinions or answers are shared in the room.

Since every person in the room will have to share their thoughts with someone else, they are somehow forced to try to come up with a solution. Or at least think about the problem. The thing is that a response should be asked by everyone. Not the dominant person in the room. Not the boss. Not the funny person. Everyone’s thoughts are important and should be heard during the meeting.

Personally, I also think that this is a solution to another problem one might encounter. I feel that sometimes people are focusing more on what they are going to say rather than listening to others. To me, this is very frustrating since we lose the focus of the meeting — collaborating and exchanging thoughts. Using this method, I know to a larger extent that my thoughts are going to be heard by at least one other person.

Lyman, F. T. (1981). The Responsive Classroom Discussion: The Inclusion of All Students. In A. Anderson (Ed.), Mainstreaming Digest (pp. 109–113). College Park: University of Maryland Press. Available online at https://archive.org/details/mdu-univarch-027524/page/n117, fetched 2019–06–10.

Rowe, M. B. (1986). Wait Time: Slowing Down May Be A Way of Speeding Up! Journal of Teacher Education, 37(1), 43–50. https://doi.org/10.1177/002248718603700110, fetched 2019–06–10

Mpya Digital is an IT consultancy in Stockholm, Sweden. It is an organization made by — and continuously improved by — the people in it.

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