What facilitation principles do you follow

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This topic contains 29 replies, has 1 voice, and was last updated by  David Oldham 2 years, 3 months ago.

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  • #1043 Reply

    Linda Barry

    I try to pose lots of open questions and prompt further discussion by gathering others views of questions posed by other participants. Always reflect back to acknowledge contributions. Try to to wait longer than might be comfortable to give more reflective participants more time to formulate.

    #1060 Reply

    Carla van Heerden

    I try to ensure that one or two vocal people aren’t dominating the discussions through addressing individuals to ask for their thoughts while acknowledging the contributions of the louder ones

    #1089 Reply

    Nirooshan Rooban

    I agree with all the facilitation principles. The aim is to be just that, a facilitator. Everyone has the knowledge. I see my role as enabling them to come out with it, rather than saying it myself.

    #1090 Reply

    Margaret Potter

    Nirooshan, I agree with your comment.  However, it can be difficult to ‘enable participants’ depending on group size, the dynamic within the group and a facilitator’s ability to formulate good questions.  What specific strategies do you use to get participants to talk, while remaining silent yourself?

    #1092 Reply

    John-Paul Favero

    I really value having a clear framework and plan with group learning. If filling a facilitator role I like to set out a clear time frame, functional room and equipment, learning objectives and some ground rules for participation. I find my experience as a learner is much more comfortable and focussed if the facilitator has addressed these things well at the beginning.

    #1093 Reply

    Allison Hilbig

    I feel it is important to acknowledge the experience of the people in the room – and allow their contributions. This is particularly important when facilitating staff who may have more years of clinical experience than you as the facilitator, or may have only turned up to a workshop because they feel they must. Allowing space for them to share from their wealth of knowledge engages them into the new learning concepts.

    #1096 Reply

    Emily Hibbert

    I try to establish a safe environment where participants can feel free to explore ideas and concepts without fear that their contributions will be disparaged and where it is OK to make mistakes. I think it is important that participants are not afraid to contribute.  I use questioning to assist in engaging the group, exploring ideas and to challenge the group.

    #1097 Reply

    Ralph Johnson

    Not having a clinical background, I identify quite strongly with Axner’s first principle and make sure that there is an acknowledgment in the face to face session that the expertise resides in the participants. We are fortunate that we have a cross-section of craft groups and now a mix of private and public practitioners that allows an exploration of experiences in each of these areas.

    One of my facilitation goals is to encourage participants to step outside of any self imposed boundaries of experience, position and expectation and to use the examples of good practice exposed in the modules as a starting point of developing a personal plan forward by essentially asking and answering the question “what am I going to do differently”.

    Another of my facilitation goals is to remain alert to opportunities to foster meaningful discussion by tapping in to particular participant’s passions, interest or expertise

    #1098 Reply

    Anna Willis

    Having facilitated mainly with interprofessional groups within the oral health professions (dentists, oral and dental therapists, prosthetists and technician) who are often quiet and are not accustomed to sharing their knowledge and experience, these facilitation principles have been extremely important. Pausing and waiting longer than seems necessary for a response, is sometimes  successful.  Resisting the temptation to fill the silence is always difficult.

    I have found that directing  open ended questions to participants using their name and allowing them time to respond can be successful in initiating a response. Building on this by asking another participant to reflect and comment  about similar knowledge / experience has been a successful way to engage most reserved participants.

    #1407 Reply

    Fawzia Huq

    I have used all the 3 faciliation principles in my sessions. The most challenging one for me personally, is learning to keep out of the discussion, which is essential to remain neutral and keep to time- and its especially difficult if a particpant has bought up a really interesting (or controversial) point. One way around this is to invite another particpant to respond ( and learn to keep quiet myself) – it took me a few times to master this, but I think it’s a good technique to involve everyone and keep the discussion going. (One has to keep the distinction between instructor and facilitator fairly clear in one’s mind.)

    #1829 Reply

    Jude Wills

    Axner’s principles provide a good summary of facilitation and highlight that the facilitator’s role has as much, if not more, focus on the process rather than the outcome.

    When facilitating workshops, I seek to establish a safe and organised environment where objectives, expectations and session plans are clear so participants are motivated to engage without feeling threatened. I ensure a culture of respect for each person, their background and the stories/perspective that they bring and emphasise that the session is a collaborative learning journey where all perspectives are heard, equal and valued. Dynamic interaction with other participants in a range of activity contexts is important to maintain engagement and foster learning and I ensure that this is an essential element of the sessions that I deliver.

    #1830 Reply

    Mariana Sudbury

    Axner’s 3 principles create a good guide for how to effectively facilitate and they act as a reminder that the group holds a wealth of knowledge and experience and by allowing people to participate, the discussion generated is often more meaningful and relevant to their needs. The role of the facilitator in helping the group feel comfortable in sharing their ideas is important, as the alternative creates a facilitator driven didactic interaction and will not inspire learning or confidence. Having a few people talking can help demonstrate to others  that peer participation is openly encouraged.  As a facilitator, feeling comfortable  during silences is an ongoing challenge for me and if necessary) I have found that breaking the group into smaller components can help the facilitator generate greater group discussion. It can also help to identify the areas that people are most interested in and this will help target the groups discussion.

    #1869 Reply

    Elizabeth Verrell

    When facilitating sessions, I try to be prepared and confident with the subject content.  However, I encourage participants to contribute answers to each others’ questions, rather than automatically providing answers myself.  When participants cannot contribute to a response and I am also unable to answer authoritatively, I work out a plan on how best to find the information through discussion with participants.
    In undertaking the Refresher course, I have been reflecting on the differences in working with students/ inexperienced staff and experienced staff.  Whilst the former have less experience to draw on, they present an opportunity to positively role model professional attributes – particularly in terms of communication; respect for colleagues; and commitment to life-long learning.  Whilst this may be stating the obvious, I think it is valuable to refresh and/or maintain commitment.

    #1886 Reply

    Georgina Neill

    I agree with Axner’s principles in regards to effectively managing group dynamics and assisting the group to follow a process, when a decision needs to be made. However in an educational session, when the facilitator is playing a role in supporting learning, I think the facilitator needs to identify the extent to which they play a role in sharing and exchanging knowledge. One of the theories of learning written about by Vgyovsky (possible spelling area) who investigated early childhood learning, is that children’s learning is enhanced by a facilitator compared to playing alone. Obviously adults are not children, but this educational theory still applies-I think the facilitator also plays a role in guiding the learning experience, using their expertise and prior preparation.

    #1906 Reply

    KYlie Eddy

    When facilitating sessions, I try to create a positive learning environment focussing on the wealth of experience that participants bring. It is useful to check out what expectations participants have of the workshop so you can address the specific needs of learners. Participants will have different learning styles so it is important to consider a number of teaching strategies to maintain learner engagement.

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