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Pros and Cons

Each week, Instant Meeting presents an idea or activity that you might use to make staff meetings more interesting, teacher-centered, educational, or fun.

Brief Description/Purpose

The pro-con sheet offers a simple way to identify the reasons for and against a particular idea. It is a good way to look at all aspects of an option before making a final decision.

Materials Needed

  • flip chart(s)
  • markers

Time Required

More Ideas for
Instant Meetings

Be sure to see our Instant Meetings Archive for additional ideas.

And don't miss our Great Meeting series. Dee Kelsey and Pam Plumb offer a short course on creating meetings that work, based on their popular guide, Great Meetings. They present ideas to help you learn how to lead meetings that generate ideas; analyze problems; define a vision; evaluate ideas and make decisions; plan for long-range needs; encourage group participation and keep groups on track; and much more.

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10 to 30 minutes, depending on the complexity of the meeting topic/subject and the size of the group

"Instant Meeting" Idea

A pro-con sheet is a simple way to identify the reasons for and against a particular idea. It is a good way to look at all the aspects of an option before you decide whether or not to go forward. You might use this approach when discussing any ideas for which there are two distinct points of view. For example, it might work when facilitating a discussion on whether or not to:

  • eliminate recess for grades 4-6;
  • let high-school students leave campus for lunch;
  • spend a budget surplus on new books or computers for the media center;
  • hold a school-wide science or history fair...

Set up a chart with the "pros" on one side and the "cons" on the other. You can use a large white board or two flipchart sheets side by side as you collect ideas.

At the top of your idea sheet, state the question clearly. Use regular brainstorming methods to invite your group's opinions, encouraging all comments and holding back on any evaluation. Encourage group members to offer comments both pro and con. If you are unsure if a comment stands in favor or against, ask for guidance. Summarize longer comments as necessary.

After all ideas are collected, check with the group to see if there are any comments that require clarification or further discussion. Check with the group to see what conclusion, if any, they draw from the list and whether they are ready to make a decision or need to do more research.

If you wish to consider the possibilities for coming to a final decision, you might take a look at these articles from Education World's Great Meetings series: