Open to Outcome 2 Edition: A Practical Guide for Facilitating & Teaching Experiential Reflection

ISBN: 978-1-939019-16-5
SIZE: 5 x 7
PRICE $14.95

“Open to Outcome, 2nd Edition is a remarkably concise volume, in which Micah and Mari have put together a near-perfect mix of theory, science, training, tips, and advice for new (and old) facilitators, leaders, and teachers/coaches.” —Ben Oliver, Assistant Director, Colgate University Outdoor Education, Hamilton, NY

With the first edition of Open to Outcome, tens of thousands of educators and learners experienced and benefited from The 5 Questions model for facilitating reflective discussions. This second edition builds on the solid foundation of the first, offering ingeniously simple changes to the 4th and 5th questions, the addition of a new chapter on specific outcomes, and other updates to make this proven processing method even more powerful and effective. Twenty years of reflection and refining make this tool better than ever!

Open to Outcome 2 Edition presents the learning cycle model built around five questions designed to take experience in a group setting and connect and apply experiential learning to real life.  The 5 Question Model easily applies to groups of varying ages and skill levels and can be used to encourage leadership and mentoring roles among peers.

The authors use their field-tested technique to generate group discussion that increases individual member participation, learning, and internal reflection.  They round out the book with essential how-tos as well as some innovative and creative ideas to spice up the process.  A wonderful book for teachers, group facilitators, coaches, and others who work in an experiential or educational setting, Open to Outcome 2 Edition presents tools to heighten the learning experience.


“Open to Outcome, 2nd Edition is a remarkably concise volume, a near-perfect mix of theory, science, training, tips, and advice for new (and old) facilitators, leaders, and teachers/coaches. I know that when I hand my staff/students this tiny book, they are getting a huge resource that will make them better facilitators.”
—Ben Oliver, Assistant Director, Colgate University Outdoor Education, Hamilton, NY

“Open to Outcome, 2nd Edition and The 5 Questions is the most universally applicable facilitation tool I know. It changed the way I run my classroom teaching and my leadership training. I purchase copies for new teachers and administrators every year.”
—Krista Gypton, 2008 Arizona Ambassador for Excellence

“The 5 Questions provide the reader with a veritable toolbox of techniques that foster a genuine sense of curiosity and mutual understanding between facilitator and participant. This book is a go-to references in my practice as an educator.”
—Nancy Zigrovic, Teacher, Modern Languages, Iroquois Ridge High School, Oakville, Ontario, Canada

“This short, powerful book changed the way I think about the way I think. I use The 5 Question model everyday with staff and students to generate genuine, reflective conversations. It’s brilliant.”
—John Alongi, Assistant Principal, Vacaville High School, California

“I highly recommend Open to Outcome, 2nd Edition for anyone who works with people. The framework of strategies provided helps move daily interactions with students, teachers, parents, and community members in a positive direction. ”
—Tom Dreiling, Principal, North Olmsted Middle School, North Olmsted, Ohio

In Open to Outcome, 2nd Edition, I rediscovered the knowledge I held so valuable as a challenge course manager and facilitator and reflected on how The 5 Questions can impact my current role as a traditional educator. This book provides clarity and simplicity to the complex process of cooperative learning, active engagement, and reflective practice.”
—Nicholas Hagemann, Former NAU Challenge Course Manager, Current 5th Grade Teacher, Portland, OR

Excerpt from the Book

I was first exposed to The 5 Questions in my seventh year as a classroom teacher. Recently married with a toddler at home, I was feeling overwhelmed and disillusioned with my career choice. Attending Micah’s workshop on being “open to outcome” was a turning point. I learned the five questions, and thought, “Sure, I’ll try this. Can’t hurt.” I bought the book and read it on my trip home. Like a hero in a classic story or myth, I had no idea how powerful my new knowledge was until I returned to the classroom.
Before learning The 5 Questions, I was teaching the same ways I was taught, sage on the stage, direct instruction, and lecture. Too many of my kids were failing, and disruptive behavior was an annoying, persistent problem. So, fresh from the conference, I entered my familiar classroom ready to see if these questions really worked. It didn’t take long for one of my students to create a perfect opportunity to field test the model. I resisted the rote response I could feel building up, “How many times have I said …,” and instead I took a deep breath and tried the first question.
“Did you notice you were flicking Alex in the ear instead of working on your essay?”
The student looked at me like I was speaking Aramaic. “Ummm, yeah.”
“Why were you choosing to bother Alex instead of writing?”
“I don’t have my brainstorming from yesterday.”
I couldn’t believe it. The questions were working. Instead of bickering with me, or making excuses, we were talking.
“Does this happen in life and school, does this forgetting of things happen often?” I asked.
“Yeah, I’m always forgetting stuff. Some nights I’m at my dad’s house, others at my mom’s, and I can’t always keep it straight. I pretty much forget everything.” The boy was making eye contact with me, leaning in. I could see the connection we were building in his body language. “I kinda hate it, I can’t keep track of my stuff because I’m always getting moved back and forth.”
At first, I was shocked that we had suddenly stumbled onto the root of not just today’s difficulty, but the cause of a lot of his issues that year. “What could you do to avoid forgetting things, if you know you will be moving a lot? Who could help you? Where could you put your bag to ensure it doesn’t get lost in the shuffle?”
“My backpack. I need to keep track of it, maybe even put all my stuff in it and keep it with me?”
“So, what will you do now?” I asked, a bit unnerved that something I learned at a conference actually worked and in awe of the depth and importance of the information we had just uncovered.
He looked at me, and I swear, I actually saw the light bulb go on. “If I make sure I always keep my backpack with me, no matter what, I’ll be okay. I could keep my phone charger, and my Game Boy®, and my inhaler in it!” He was talking faster, excited at this new idea of his.
“Okay, now, head to your seat, get some key ideas down from what you remember from your brainstorming. Tomorrow I will see you with your brainstorming, and your hands to yourself, and your backpack.”
He smiled and literally skipped back to his seat. From then on, he made a big deal out of having his backpack with him when he walked into class. It was our little inside thing. I certainly talked to him many more times about making good choices, keeping his hands to himself, staying seated, and, well, normal stuff for a teacher and a young learner. The big change was I didn’t yell, and he didn’t lower his eyes and nod blankly. We talked, each time uncovering a new truth. At the end of the semester, his grade had gone up by 30%. Years later when he graduated, he gave me a hug and said, “Thanks for taking the time to care when I was an annoying little freshman who couldn’t remember my backpack.”
From that time on, almost every student conversation with “Did you notice …”? Then I simply listened and asked and together we uncovered their truths. I no longer had discipline problems in my classroom. I haven’t raised my voice in frustration or anger since I first read Open to Outcome. In the first two weeks of school, students do what they normally do, I do what I do, we have conversations that begin, “Did you notice …?” and we go from there. On almost every occasion we find a place of common understanding and an action plan, and we can get back to the business of learning, which is the whole point of being a teacher.
We will always have kids who choose not to follow rules, who are distracted, hurt, sad, hungry, and/or bored. We will always have kids who are advanced, unchallenged, and restless. We will always have kids who are cruising through our halls with a solid B average and little desire to shake anything up. Challenging behavior will always be there, in and out of school. And that is fine, great even, because The 5 Questions are there and they work. They bring people together around a shared experience and create a plan, an action item, and because its creation is shared, it builds community and connection as it plays out.
I could fill books with examples of kids, teachers, fellow parents, and educators who have benefited from the simple yet powerful 5 Question model. It is my go-to mind-set and tool in processing with any and all people, and though my wife is occasionally frustrated when I start a conversation with “Did you notice…?,” I know the Open to Outcome, 2nd Edition model has made me a better teacher, coach, spouse, and father. For that I am eternally grateful and thankful.

Kevin Ozar
Instructional Coach/Classroom Teacher
Farmington Public Schools, Michigan
July 26, 2015

Table of Contents

2nd Edition Introduction
Chapter One: What Is Learning?
Chapter Two: Creating Space and the Facilitator Mind-Set
Chapter Three: The 5 Questions
Chapter Four: Keep the Conversation Moving
Chapter Five: We Need an Outcome!
Chapter Six: Make It Experiential!
Additional Resources
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