Issues Consensus

Grade Level: 
7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
Keywords: 
Communication Skills
Facilitation
Leadership
Team
YGFGlead
Youth Advisory Committee
Youth Club
In this activity participants will learn about the concept of group consensus; what it means, how to facilitate this type of decision-making, and what it feels like to experience consensus building around community issues. By the end of the activity, participants will demonstrate the effectiveness of using consensus as a group process.

Do you think it is difficult to reach a group consensus? What do you think can be done to enahnce group communciation to work towards a shared goal?

Time: 

60 minutes 

Materials: 

  • Chart paper and markers 
  • Pencils or pens for everyone in the group 
  • Copies for each member of the Consensus Building Guidelines and Bylines (Attachment 1) Consensus Building Worksheet(Attachment 2) 

Activity 

  1. Pass out the Consensus Building Guidelines and Bylines (Attachment 1). Discuss the question “What do we mean by group consensus?” with the group. 
  2. Ask the group to share examples of decision-making that they have seen or been part of that was reached by consensus building. Invite the group to consider decisions that cannot or perhaps should not be made by consensus building. (i.e. life or death decisions)
  3. Review and discuss some of the other guidelines, factors and details noted in the handout. 
  4. Pass out the Consensus Building Worksheet (Attachment 2) and instruct each participant to rank the top five issues in their community.
  5. Divide the group into small groups. It is time to put the Consensus Builsing Guidelines to work! Ask each group to reach consensus on the top five community issues in your community. 
  6. Allow for each small group member to take a turn facilitating the consensus discussion. Point out the “Facilitating Consensus” part of the Consensus Building Guidelines and Bylines (Attachment 1) handout and review the role of facilitator. 
  7. The first person in the group to facilitate will start with the most important issue in the community. While acting as the facilitator, that member of the group is no longer a part of the decision making on that issue. Once the most important issue has been decided, a new member of the group becomes facilitator and facilitates the decision on the second most important community issue. The process continues until every member of the group has facilitated consensus on one of the top five community issues. 
  8. To conslude, bring the groups back together and ask them to report about their top five most important community issues. Discuss similarities and differences.   

Reflection

  • How many of the groups were able to reach consensus and how did you do it? Does everyone feel that consensus was really reached by the following guidelines: 
    • Agree to support the decision, though it may not be their first choice  
    • Agree to support the decision as if it were their first choice  
    • Feels as though he/she has had sufficient opportunity to influence the decision 
  • What was it like for you to facilitate a consensus decision-making activity? 
  • If your group decided to do a service project around the community issue you identified, would you be able to support it? Why or why not? 
  • Where would you now like to try consensus building in your own life? Are there decisions with which consensus building would be helpful? 
  • Do you think consensus building might be important to groups of philanthropists who are giving their time, talents and treasures for the common good? Why or why not? 
  • What’s one thing you want to remember most from this activity?