The San Diego Unified School District Triton/Patterns Project developed
this guide to help both students and teachers understand what consensus
means and how to achieve it in group settings.
When working in a group it is important that all members of the group
play a role. While the simple majority rules concept works for our nation,
in smaller groups it could leave members feeling slighted or out of the
loop. Consensus is a strategy that involves everyone playing a role in
the decision making of the group. In order for this to be successful,
it is important to be open to compromise!
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the definition of consensus
- a: general agreement; b: the judgment arrived at by most or all of
- group solidarity in sentiment and belief
- Trust each other. This is not a competition; everyone must not be
afraid to express his or her ideas and opinions.
- Make sure everyone understands the topic/problem. While building
a consensus, make sure everyone is following, listening to, and understanding
- All members should contribute their ideas and knowledge related to
- Stay on the task.
- You may disagree, that is OK and healthy. However, you must be flexible
and willing to give something up to reach an agreement.
- Separate the issue from the personalities. This is not a time to
disagree just because you don't like someone.
- Spend some time on this process. Being quick is not a sign of quality.
The thought process needs to be drawn out some.
- Agree on your objectives for the task/project, expectations, and rules
(see guidelines above).
- Define the problem or decision to be reached by consensus.
- Figure out what must be done to reach a solution.
- Brainstorm possible solutions.
- Discuss pros and cons of the narrowed down list of ideas/solutions.
- Adjust, compromise, and fine-tune the agreed upon idea/solution so
all group members are satisfied with the result.
- Make your decision. If a consensus isn't reached, review and/or repeat
steps one through six.
- Once the decision has been made, act upon what you decided.
Source: San Diego Unified School District Triton/Patterns