Observing the facilitator outside the classroom

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For this assignment, I observed a facilitator involved in a community-based training session. The educational and community-based program played a considerable role in teaching individuals about a healthy lifestyle. The program was conducted in a bid to improve health outcomes in the society. The setting provided the opportunity to reach more people through the existing social structure. Individuals have a high level of contact with the setting either directly or indirectly. The facilitator used various strategies to pass information.

Facilitating can become inherently spontaneous when moved into the world away from the confines of the classroom. There is a collaborative learning atmosphere that arises from the unique relationships developed between the facilitator and the group.   There were various skills used by the facilitator that seemed most effective in handling the group. The facilitator made everyone feel comfortable and valued. The location selected was one where people felt comfortable. This was achieved by first getting to know the members, use of body language and thanking the participants.

A familiar and comfortable location is important. The meeting site was accessible to everyone. As a facilitator, logistics are often of great concern.  Sitting arrangement may encourage or discourage participation. The speaker’s podium may also make the session feel formal, or people feel intimidated. The facilitator began the meeting on time and welcomed everyone before making an introduction. The facilitator also used effective communication skills to ensure that the session was effective. To encourage participation, recognized progress and commended participants for their contribution towards the session. He also made sure that everybody got an equal opportunity to participate. Those who were silent were encouraged to participate.   Observing and scanning techniques were fully utilized to nurture full participation from the group. The facilitator was keen on nonverbal cues in the form of facial expression, body movement, and gesture.

He also encouraged participation. The facilitator also used process skills to guide and direct key parts of work with groups of people. Regardless of the size of a group, it is necessary for a facilitator to guide and shape the process of working together so as to meet goals and achieve the objectives of the session. While different people may have set the agenda and figured out the goals, the facilitator concentrated on how he was going to move through the agenda and effectively meet set goals. The facilitator also used effective listening and observing skills throughout the session.

There are various things I would have done differently. Communication skills are vital for a facilitator.  How a facilitator communicates aside from the content can make a difference moving things along effectively and efficiently. I would have done more particularly in modeling, focusing attention and pacing and scanning (Prendiville, 2004). The facilitator actively listened and showed genuine interest in other people’s feelings and thoughts. However, more could have been done in modeling. This would involve Practice behavior that the facilitator would want reflected back to them (Wilkie, 2002). I would also try to watch my nonverbal message and incorporate some fun. I would also improve attention and pacing. This would involve reducing repetition and keeping the group on the topic(Waite, 2011).This should be a primary responsibility of the facilitator. I would also be more sensitive to the age, culture, gender, literacy levels and other factors when conducting the session(Newton, 2003).For example, activities that require reading a lengthy instruction sheet may be unsuitable for a particular group.

References

Newton, J. M. (2003). Developing facilitation skills a narrative. Collegian, 10(3), 27-30.

Prendiville, P. (2004). Facilitation skills: A handbook for group facilitators. Combat Poverty Agency.

Waite, S. (2011). Teaching and learning outside the classroom: Personal values, alternative pedagogies, and standards. Education 3–13, 39(1), 65-82.

Wilkie, M. C. (2002). Actions, attitudes, and attributes: developing facilitation skills for problem-based learning (Doctoral dissertation, Coventry University in collaboration with the School of Nursing and Midwifery University of Dundee).



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