A provocative question

Engage in quick but thoughtful dialogue around provocative ideas based on the evidence base. Also helpful in preparing for a larger group conversation and future work around a common practice.

Duration – 26 minutes

Timing and description for 'A provocative question' protocol
Timing Description

Prior to the conversation

A small group identifies or creates a policy statement focused on one practice that is important to the school. The policy statement must be grounded in current research. For example, some suitable topics might include assessment practices, A-E grading or differentiating instruction.


2 minutes

Designate a facilitator and timekeeper.

Review the norms and purpose for this session.


4 minutes

Silently read the proposed policy.

Think how this policy would ‘land’ in our school.

Discuss with a partner

5 minutes

Discuss the implications of this policy with your partner.

What do you think would work well? What wouldn’t? What questions do you have about these policy statements? What intrigues you about it?

Expand the conversation

8 minutes

Join up with another partner group and continue the conversation.

Personal reflection

3 minutes

Silently consider which statements from the policy would challenge us to move forward in its development of this practice. What would you like to see if a policy existed in this area?

Large group closure

2 minutes

In a larger group conversation, discuss any ideas around this policy that would challenge us to move forward in its development of this practice.


2 minutes

Silently write answers to the following questions and submit your exit ticket to the facilitator.

What did you learn through this conversation? What next steps do you propose for work in this area? What suggestions do you have for improving this ‘a provocative question’ process?

Adapted from Glaude, C (2011) Protocols for Professional Learning Conversations. Cultivating the Art and Discipline. Bloomington: Solution Tree Press

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