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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  • #1907 Reply

    Laura Gaskin

    One of the facilitation principles I try to work by is developing a rapport with the learners early in the day.  We are asking the learners to share, engage, try new things, and sometimes to put themselves out there a little bit.  To have a facilitator who is warm, approachable, and real is important – i’ve noted that even a small thing like remembering peoples names and using them can make a big difference.

    #1927 Reply

    Jill garner

    Hi I agree with laura I think it is very imporatnt to build a rapport early on during the placement. I also find discussing what is expected from the student clinicaly rhgouhout the placmeent is very importantnt, dicussing their learning style and special areas they would liek to focus on during this placment. I like using a learning plan to help with this.

    #1931 Reply

    Lauren Mott

    I promote adult principles of learning when I facilitate workshops and encourage my participants to consider the questions and find the answers themselves. I find that this encourages the participants to consider the questions more deeply and learn from the responses given by other participants. This empowers the participants and allows them to go away from the workshop with skills and techniques to optimise their own learning experiences in the workplace.

    #1954 Reply

    Marilyn Bullen

    I think good facilitation requires careful consideration as to how questions are posed and close attention to the language used. People will feel more comfortable to share their thoughts and experiences if they feel their thoughts and experience are valued. People are the ‘experts’ of their own experience and should feel safe to contribute even if their experience is limited.

    #2011 Reply

    Ruth Morgan

    I try to provide a safe environment where participants feel comfortable, so they can contribute their ideas and participate fully in discussions and role plays. I use open questions to engage the group and encourage them to share their collective knowledge.

    #2149 Reply

    Sophie Leworthy

    1.       A facilitator guides people through a process together, but is not the seat of wisdom and knowledge.
    –          I always admit up front that I don’t claim to know everything there is to know about supervision and teaching students and that we are all here to learn from each others experiences i.e. I’m here to help them share their knowledge with each other.
    2.        Facilitation focuses on HOW people participate in the process of learning, not just on WHAT gets achieved.
    –          I think it is always good to be able to adjust your style by gaging what is working well for the group whether it is sharing stories in a larger group or a smaller group – what style is encouraging the most participation and therefore learning (I have found often people tend to open up more in smaller groups than to the larger group and therefore tend to allow more time working in smaller groups if possible).
    3.       A facilitator should remain neutral and never take sides.
    –          If participants are seeking feedback on their experience with students and whether what they did was ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ I always try and put the question to the group rather than answer it myself and remind them that I don’t have all the answers but hopefully by sharing knowledge together they can feel more confident in their approach.

    #2187 Reply

    Elaine Hart

    Axner’s three principles of facilitation align with many of the attitudes and expectations that have shaped my approach to facilitation. The proposition that a facilitator guides people through a process but is not the seat of wisdom and knowledge is related to the principle of recognising and acknowledging the wisdom and experience in the group. In workshops and groups I have facilitated, this has typically translated into introductory activities which invite and draw out participant experience in a more than perfunctory manner. Genuinely listening and responding to these contributions (e.g. from new graduate, experienced practitioner, varying worksites) shows everyone the depth of resource in the room and provides an important reminder, not least of which to me, of my role. Axner’s injunction to focus on how people participate in the process of learning not just on what gets achieved requires attention to the creation of a stimulating but safe environment. For me, this means striking a balance between the principles of fostering active participant engagement and accepting that individuals have different learning styles and comfortable levels of engagement in a group activity. As a facilitator I try to role model appropriate self-disclosure and sharing of my experiences, often my mistakes, positively reinforce others’ contributions, and link statements from different participants, but at the same time I am alert to the learning of the ‘quiet’ individuals who may be engaged best one-to-one during small group activity. The role of the facilitator as a neutral one which does not take sides gave me particular cause for reflection. Can it be an absolute? As an earlier contributor to this discussion indicated, if the role is an educative one and your participation is predicated, in part, because of your expert content knowledge then it may be appropriate to make an authoritative contribution, citing the evidence base. Nonetheless, where there is disagreement within the group, typically I have tried to facilitate exploration of reasons for this and what we can learn from it. My role, by appropriate questioning and summarising, has been to maintain exploration within a respectful climate. Importantly, the principle of trusting the group process sits alongside the principle of ‘doing no harm.’ It may be uncommon but where there is an uneven power balance between group members and actions by the group are causing harm to an individual, it may be necessary for the facilitator to step in; perhaps this is just part of the facilitation role rather than ‘taking sides.’

    #2189 Reply

    Phuong Pham

    As a facilitator, I rely heavily on the experiences and contributions of the participants. I try to establish a sense of safety and a high level of positive buzzing energy from the start to engage participation. Humor is particularly useful here when appropriate and relevant. I aim to ensure that all voices and opinion are heard; this may include especially inviting those who are more quiet in the group. This is achieved by being warm, open and inviting rather than a ‘picking on’ unwilling participants.

    I really believe that the facilitator should not be the ‘seat of wisdom’. The main action or attention should not at all be on the facilitator but on the discussions provided by the participants.

    #2248 Reply

    Kylie Nicholls

    The role of the facilitator starts well before the participants step into the room, a sense of community and rapport can be encouraged and developed right from the initial contact and interactions. The creation of a safe, comfortable learning environment is also important in fostering discussion, exploration and reflection.

    I see the experience and diversity of the participants as key resources in the learning process and by tapping in to this as a facilitator you can guide and tailor the sessions towards the desired outcomes whilst meeting the needs of the group members.

    #2250 Reply

    Lauren Lynch

    Axner’s 3 principles are highly important in facilitating sessions. I aim to implement these and use open ended questioning to encourage participation. If this is unsuccessful, directing an open ended question to someone in the group can assist with enabling the conversation. Not only do these strategies help participants learn but also give the facilitator additional ideas and suggestions to implement in their own practice!

    #2388 Reply

    Annette Carroll

    I agree with Axner’s principles and I am finding them easier to implement the more I facilitate. I think initially, especially when facilitating unfamiliar topics, it was easy for me to focus too much on my preparation and knowledge as a facilitator.

    Some facilitation principles that are important to me are ensuring that learners are engaged and actively involved in the session. It is important to me that learners understand the key concepts and come away with at least some of the learning objectives. Adapting my approaches to suit different learners needs is important to achieve this.

    #2389 Reply

    Rosalyn Stanton

    As I have participated in TOTR program I have developed my facilitation skills more and more, particularly in how facilitation differs from other forms of teaching. I agree with the principles of facilitation suggested by Axner. I think it is improtant to open with information about how you are going to facilitate the session, as well as acknowleding the experience in the room and how we all will contribute so everyone is clear and how the session is aimed to run. Some strategies I use as a facilitator is the aim to create a safe learning environment and equal roles of all participants (including the facilitator) by sharing or having a go (ie demonstrating) myself, as well as defering to the knowledge/skills/contributions of the group and summarising these rather than offering my thoughts. This has been an important development myself having implemented TOTR in a setting where I am well known for my clinical teaching experience.  I try to ask questions and get everyone involved, but not put anyone “on the spot” if they are uncomfortable sharing in the larger group (hopefully they can be enaged in other ways). I am most interested as a facilitator in having everyone involved in what is an enjoyable learning experience, and hopefully everyone learning at least one thing from the session to add to their clinical supervision skills.

    #2427 Reply

    Emily Peelgrane

    I have always followed the principle that I am a lifeling learner and that I will learn as much from teaching the session and my potential learners and enter each teaching arrangement/module with this in mind.  I find this makes my teaching easier as I need to trust in the group and allow them to come up with helpful content and discussion.  My co-facilitators and I have also chosen to teach the modules in an interdisciplinary fashion which has been very helpful. This has allowed different professions to learn from each other as many of the principles to how disciplines provide supervision are the same but the context may be different (which allows professions to demonstrate how they manage poentially challening situations which thus in turn helps other learners). In this setting the group dynamics can sometimes be harder to manager (as the particpants are all new to each other) but you can create interesting discussions and allow more experienced clinicians and educators to role model for others.

    #2474 Reply

    Resy van Beek

    Hi all,

    Interesting to read all your views!

    I pose and pause and usually people start talking. I keep eye contact and look around the whole ‘circle’ to make contact with different people at different times. Even non talkers very often nod or shake their heads and that is often a good moment to get them talking. And I make jokes/funny comments and once they start laughing, the intimidation is often gone. I think using the videos early in the sessions helps the interaction. I have noticed that in many groups a full day workshop covering a few workshops works better than individual workshops on different days. It seems to me that the ice needs to be re broken if the workshops are organised separately. Do you have the same experience?


    Greetings from darwin!


    #3236 Reply

    David Oldham

    I try to establish an environment of trust, where all comments are welcome and individuals feel free to speak without fear of ridicule. If a comment seems “off course” then I may explore it with the individual to see where their comment is coming from – it could be they have a misunderstanding of the topic, or an advanced understanding that I or the group are not familiar with. I will often try and write down points on a white board, using their words (not mine), though clarifying it so the meaning of what they are saying is clear to me, them, and the audience.

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