During this "conversation," as it came to be called, students and teachers gave their own definitions of what respect was and gave a vision of what that looked like to them. This opened up to a conversation about language and finally into student involvement in collaboratively designing courses with the teachers. We had five questions prepared to lead our discussion but with such active involvement we only got to 2.5 of them in an hour. It was awesome to watch. Teachers and students flowed in and out of the circle when they wished to share and they asked questions of each other in hopes of clarifying statements and finding deeper understanding. When 2:00 (end of the day) hit, on a Friday, four students stayed after and most teachers found themselves in the classroom continuing the conversation for another half-hour. It was great to see such a healthy and respectful conversation and, from the feedback I received, it was a conversation that both students and teachers would like to see happen again.
The most surprising revelation or bit of information that came out of the conversation for me and my coworkers, was that the students want us to sit down and talk to them, even on break. I think we all felt this was sacred student time but, armed with this new information, we will now start taking greater steps to bridge the communication gap.