8th February 2008 at 00:00
Q: How do we get all staff to behave professionally, on time to meetings, with diary and pen, ready to contribute to the published agenda in a positive manner?

Neil, Worcester

A: People don't take this collective dimension of their professional responsibilities seriously.

You can hector and badger colleagues into attending and fully participating. But a more effective strategy would be for you to ensure meetings really deliver something that people want. Look for "low-hanging fruit" - some agenda items that will be easy to agree and implement.

You might also consider bringing in some nice biscuits.

Sue, Canterbury

A: You could ask them what they want out of meetings. Too often, valuable time is soaked up by meetings dominated by colleagues who use them to showcase their latest achievements and ideas.

No wonder people get turned off by this sort of thing.

We didn't come into teaching to witness ambitious colleagues prance and pose around in meetings.

Sue, East Grinstead

A: Easy. Model the behaviours you want to encourage. Add a "bring" box to your agenda for meetings - you can request that staff bring a pen and diary. Or go one step further, buy them a notebook and pen from your budget and tell them what it is for. Everyone likes a freebie.

Confide in a colleague who shares your concerns. Two role models are better than one. Give all staff a "slot" on the agenda so they can air their views at a time to suit you. Take the minutes as you go on a laptop and print them at the close of the session. Sharpening your practice will impact others.

Sara, Chelmsford

Coming up

Q: I am a pastoral head of house. How do I get heads of department to deal with children who do not do homework for their subject?

Q: Are there camps of different ages in your school? Do the oldies sit and moan and the young teachers run round like headless chickens?

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