Start, Stop, Continue

Reflect on our current situation and work out what we need to start, stop and continue in order to maximise our effectiveness.

How to Use It

Use this protocol to:

  • Work out if current systems and processes are as effective as they could be
  • Assess if current programs need to be changed
  • Stop ineffective teaching practices. Too often we continue with things just because it’s the way that things have always been done
  • This protocol forces us to critically analyse and self-reflect as a team and intentionally be open-minded to change

The facilitator needs to choose the focus topic prior to using the protocol. This may be based on:
outcomes from previous Elevated Conversations Protocols
wanting to reassess current practices or processes
data or even a hunch that you have something that could be improved

The template can be either printed out or replicated onto a board. Participants can capture their thinking on sticky notes before adding them to the template.

Step 1: Orientate the team
It is important to introduce the Start, Stop, Continue Protocol by stating that part of our job as teachers is to continually strive to be doing what is best for our students. Sometimes that will mean stopping things that have become ingrained in us as teachers. You may need to emphasise that a couple of our norms are to, ‘Be open to fresh thinking’ and ‘Welcome productive challenge’.

The flipside of this is that it also potentially gives us the exciting opportunity to start something new.

Step 2: Introduce the topic
Provide an overview of what you will be getting the team to reflect on.

* If the topic is related to a program or service, you may need to tell the participants what the topic is prior to your meeting. This will give them time to research potential alternatives.

Step 3: Develop a list of strategies
Individually or as a group, write down on sticky notes all of the different strategies/ideas that are currently being used for the relevant topic. Tell them not to provide any justification or reasoning, just what it is. Don’t place them on the template yet.

Next, write down any potential things that could be started. Explain to them that they can include things, even if they don’t know a great deal about them. e.g., they may have heard about a program or service, but have not fully investigated it.

Step 4: Vote on what category it should be placed in
The facilitator needs to read out each of the sticky notes for strategies/ideas from one of the participants. Participants then vote (thumbs up = start/continue, thumbs down = stop) on whether each idea should continue or stop. If people believe that a new thing or idea should not be started, they will put it in the “stop” category.

For any ‘Start’ ideas, discuss if it also means that something else needs to be stopped.

After you have gone through all of the ideas from the first person, move to the next person. This time, only vote on strategies/ideas that have not been mentioned yet. Continue this process until everyone’s ideas have been voted on.

For any sticky notes that are not decided on unanimously, the facilitator needs to ask team members from conflicting perspectives to provide some reasoning and justification for their opinion. Provide an opportunity to re-vote after the debate.

Step 5: Explore next steps
Put a time frame on things that have been voted on to either start or stop. You may come to a decision about some things, but others may need to be further explored. This may mean providing an opportunity for team members to do some more research on the unresolved idea. Confirm roles and responsibilities for the next steps in implementing new ideas and stopping old ones.