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Staff reflection and problem-solving strategy


When the tension is thick and conflict is about to erupt, taking valuable time away from production time can be more valuable. This team building activity allows people to clear the air to then return to the work refreshed and stronger as a team.


  • Students will learn how to communicate effectively about what is bothering them.
  • Students will use conflict management to resolve issues in a healthy way.
  • Students will listen to others and how they feel to better support them with any issues they are having.

Common Core Standards

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.1 Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 9-10 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.1d Respond thoughtfully to diverse perspectives, summarize points of agreement and disagreement, and, when warranted, qualify or justify their own views and understanding and make new connections in light of the evidence and reasoning presented.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.3 Evaluate a speaker’s point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric, identifying any fallacious reasoning or exaggerated or distorted evidence.


One 60-minute class



Lesson step-by-step

1. Gather the group into a circle and discuss terms–5 minutes

Make sure everyone can fit in the circle and explain that sitting in this arrangement is a place where students, leaders and adviser are equals. Everyone tends to respect the voices of others.

State the rules of the exercise:

  • Answer the question(s) truthfully.
  • Everyone needs to speak.
  • Be professional.
  • Listen without judgment.
  • Don’t interrupt.
  • Maintain confidentiality (whatever is said in the circle stays in the circle).
  • If someone feels helpless, offer what you can and ask for what they need.
  • Be concise in your responses. Try to explain in a minute or less.

2. Question and Answer Discussion–15-45 minutes (depending on group size and how many questions asked)

Each person in the circle (including adviser and leaders) will answer these questions. Each person will speak and everyone takes turns around the circle to get the answers for everyone.

The group must start by answering the first question. The activity can stop there or go around the circle again with another question below. It is also optional to create questions, too.

  • What is the one thing you need from the group in order to feel safe in this work environment?
  • What is one thing good that is going on within our group?
  • What is one bad thing you wish you would stop within our group?
  • What are you most proud of so far this year with your job on media staff and why?
  • Who do you look up to on the media staff and why?

The opportunity to air grievances within the group will strengthen the group. Encourage those who have wronged others to apologize to ensure the problem stops immediately. If someone is long-winded, keep an eye on time and encourage them to find a stopping point.

If conflict was revealed that needs deeper conflict resolution, the adviser may want to set that problem aside to be handled one-on-one between the two parties with an adviser present.

Consider ending on a question that yields positive answers so the group feels warm and fuzzy before leaving the circle.

3. (Optional) Discuss solutions if needed–5-10 minutes

If a conflict is revealed that is procedural or a flaw in basic class management, it is encouraged to address for a solution. Encourage the group to decide what is the solution so they feel valued and their voices are heard.