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LEARNING CIRCLES - University of Southern Maine

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Learning Circles
Presented by:Charmaine Brittain, MSW, Ph.D.Butler Institute for FamiliesUniversity of DenverAmy Espinoza, MSWSupervisorDenver Department of Human Services
Introduction to Learning Circles
Learning Circlesare groups that engage in a process of learning through collective inquiry.Facilitated by a group leader.Group members are accountable to one another.Goal: improve outcomes by improving how things are done (our system) and what we are doing (our practice).
In Learning Circles….
TheProcessis as Important as theProduct
Learning Circle Approach
MembershipA group of supervisors and his/her unit ORA group of supervisors and/or managersDesignated facilitator and coachLearning Circles use the PARA approach -- Plan-Act-Reflect-AdaptEncourages building a learning culture through acquiring and building knowledge.
Learning Circle Process
LearningOrganizationEnvironment
Topic Basket
Agency priorities and information
LC members select topic
Each LC member shares topic experience
ADAPT
REFLECT
ACT
PLAN
SENDRecommendations to Other Org Levels
Learning Circle Principles
Create organizational change and improved outcomes through a focus on best practice.Inspire a learning organization committed to improved practices, functioning, and outcomes.Address challenges or practice issues relevant to and actionable by the Learning Circle members.Connect practice change to the agency’s mission, values, and practice model.Employ interventions and activities based upon evidenced-based approaches.
Learning Circle Principles
Empower circle members to improve practice for more positive organizational climate and client outcomes.Use strengths-focused interventions.Embody a culturally responsive approach.Use comprehensive, incremental interventions for long-term sustainability.
Learning Circle Principles
Expect full, open, and unbiased participation that encourages communication by all members of the circle.Empower circle members to engage in collaborative, balanced, and supportive behavior.Emphasize ongoing evaluation to improve effectiveness and achieve desired outcomes.
How do these principles manifest in the Learning circle?A supervisor’s perspective
Learning Circle Process
Step 1: Convene the meeting. Make sure members “check” theirbaggage at the door.Step 2: Acknowledge the LC Recorder for the meeting.Step 3: Remind team members of the LC Principles—to create a learning culture.Step 4: Facilitate a dialogue about the designated topic, remembering PARA.
Learning Circle Process
Step 5:Discuss what has been learned from the day’s Learning Circle and review the plan.Step 6:Set the next meeting date. Adjourn the meeting.Step 7:Complete theLC Meeting Journaland post as planned.
Evaluation Plan
To what extent are learning circles implemented with fidelity to the model?What are the strengths and limitations of using PARA as a process for learning circles?What topics, best practices, and goals do supervisors address in learning circles?To what degree do agency managers and unit members perceive changes in supervisory practice as a result of learning circles?
A Supervisor’s Perspective
Topics covered in Learning Circles…..
Staff RetentionCommunity PartnersUse of data and researchTime ManagementFoster care issues related to DJJTraining for new staffResource developmentFamily Team meetings
Topics covered in Learning Circles…..
Case staffingTransferring casesSecondary traumaTeam BuildingSupervision and nurturingDealing with difficult issuesChangeManaging upwards
Developing a Learning Circle Project
Convene a committeeDetermine structure of programDevelop supporting materialsRecruit/identify learning circlesTrain learning circle facilitators/coachesCommence learning circlesSupport learning circlesConduct ongoing evaluation
Questions?

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LEARNING CIRCLES - University of Southern Maine