Marriage Protocol: A Tool for Generating Conversations that Link Theory and Practice

Whether I'm teaching a course, leading professional learning with teachers, or facilitating a meeting, I love the use of protocols for structuring productive conversations! With that said, I have been a long time champion of The School Reform Initiative as a resource for protocols. I love that initially these protocols were designed by teachers for teachers, and I have found them extremely useful in working with preservice teachers, inservice teachers, school administrators, and university faculty. In fact, I've even seen many of them adapted and used effectively with students, even as young as the primary grades!


The purpose of this protocol is to help individuals make connections between a reading and their experiences. 


To support the implementation, I created two handouts. The first one includes a detailed description of the protocol and its steps. The second is a graphic organizer that participants use to capture their thoughts before and during the protocol. 


I created the Marriage Protocol quite spontaneously actually. I was facilitating a professional learning session with a group of teacher leaders in a turnaround school and the goal was to make connections between the article we had just read and the issues and challenges they were facing on a daily basis. While they were working on some pre-work, I coupled my previous knowledge of and experience with protocols and began scribbling my ideas on a piece of paper, completely changing what I had originally planned to debrief the reading. After implementing my idea, I asked the teacher leaders for feedback, which I used to tweak the protocol. It is this revised version that I have included here for your use. 

Uses of this Protocol

In addition to being used in the professional learning of teacher leaders, a colleague and I used this protocol as part of the 2018 Association of Teacher Educators Clinical Practice Fellows Symposium. 

Be as creative as you want to liven up the protocol. Music is a great touch! Most importantly, have fun!



Rebecca Burns