How might a school facilitate a broader community discussion on faith and science through a forum event or through a series of small group discussions?
This section of the TeachFASTly website offers some guidance on how to facilitate a broader discussion on faith and science within a school community, either through a single forum event, or through a series of small group discussions on the topic.
This initial step focuses on laying the groundwork for community conversations about faith and science. The goal is for school and/or community leaders to commit to some basic principles of engagement that will frame their future discussions about the topic.
After establishing the goals for community conversations about faith and science in Step 1, the topic(s) for conversation should be clarified. A number of FASTly-related resources can help with this.
This next step focuses on sharing information with the community in a way that makes the purpose and parameters of your forum clear. The goal is to minimize misconceptions among participants and to build trust before the forum.
This step involves thinking through the composition of the planned event(s) in terms of participants, and developing strategies for recruiting the right mix of people. The goal is to define who should be there and why, and to communicate this clearly to those who take part.
The first meeting (for forums meeting multiple times) is important in terms of setting future trajectories. This is the point at which to focus on establishing patterns of engagement and on clarifying the group’s norms and expectations.
As the forum progresses, there will be a need to monitor the process to avoid getting bogged down, drifting away from the group goals and norms, ending up with some members dominating, or losing the connection to wider school practice. This step focuses on group process.