WHAT IT IS:
Hotseat is a problem-solving strategy that involves a small group of collaborators. Each person in the group takes a turn on the “hot seat” and goes through the protocol.
HOW IT WORKS:
When preparing for the hot seat protocol, it is important to go through each step of the process with students. It is also important to have an audible timer that all students can hear and to explain the importance of sticking to the timeframe, as it becomes easy to linger on any part of the process. Finally, and most importantly, students must have an appropriately important challenge to present.
A typical hotseat protocol goes as follows:
- The person on the “hot seat” presents a challenge within a 3-minute timeframe while the rest of the group listens.
- The group has 3 minutes to ask clarifying questions of the person on the hot seat. It’s good to offer guidance to participants that these questions should not be advice veiled as a question. Clarifying questions should yield short answers, yes or no, numbers, etc. The person on the hot seat should answer as quickly as needed to clarify.
- Then, over the next 3 minutes, each person in the group gets a chance to share an idea as it relates to the hot seat challenge while the person on the hot seat only listens.
- The next 10 minutes are spent in open discussion. The person on the hot seat guides the conversation by investigating one or more of the ideas that they found interesting. The purpose of this open discussion is to help the person on the hot seat settle on a plan of action to overcome their challenge or solve their problem.
- Finally, the person on the hot seat takes 1 minute to write down their plan of action while the rest of the group takes the minute to write down anything they learned from the discussion that may help them with their own challenge.
- The process is then repeated for each of the rest of the group members.
During any long-term project, students encounter challenges. Once students are met with challenges, the hot seat protocol becomes a relevant strategy to employ. This protocol also works when encountering classroom challenges, such as when norms break down or unwanted behaviors arise.