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Consensus Mat

Consensus

Consensus (PeopleImages, iStockphoto)

Consensus

Consensus (PeopleImages, iStockphoto)

Format

This strategy helps a group of students students share and discuss ideas in order to produce a collective, agreed-upon response.

Why use it?

  • To sort given or researched facts, analyse information or brainstorm ideas
  • To give students opportunity to consider different points of view
  • To provide students with opportunity to explain their ideas and points of view
  • To enhance critical thinking skills
  • To help students develop collaboration and consensus-building skills

Tips for success

  • It may be necessary to review strategies for a good group discussion.
  • Have the groups each select one member to report to the class

How do I use it?

  • Divide class into discussion groups of 4-6. Establish the topic, issue or question for discussion in the groups.
  • Provide a large paper or chart paper and have the students divide the page in sections equalling the number of students in the group. Have them leave a central section of the paper to be used later for recording the group consensus.
  • Give students a predetermined amount of time to think about and record their own ideas (or information, research, viewpoints, etc.) on post-it notes, which they will affix in their section of the Consensus Mat.
  • Each group then will discuss the responses and come to a collective response (which is added to the central section of the mat) that will be shared with the class.

Variations

  • This strategy could also be done using an online recording platform, such as Google Docs.

Extensions

  • The Consensus Mats can be posted after completion to share with the rest of the class.
  • Responses can be ranked in order of importance or significance.
  • Students could communicate responses in other formats (posters, oral presentations, skits, etc.).

References

Ontario Ministry of Education. (2003). Think literacy cross-curricular approaches, grades 7-12. Ontario Ministry of Education.