Last week I was asked the question of what I believe facilitation is. So I began to reflect on my own practice as a facilitator and why I believe that facilitation skills are the gateway to great leadership, great parenting and being a good partner or friend.
Throughout our lives we are conditioned to believe that we are “less than”. From a very young age, most of us were brought up to strive for more and be better than we already were. The message – you are not already amazing just as you are. Research shows that we are exposed to 17 criticisms to 1 praise as we grow up and it seems that parents and teachers believe that this is the correct behaviour to encourage children to grow toward excellence.
The exact opposite is indeed true.
I firmly believe that everyone has all the resources they need for self mastery, for leadership and for achieving greatness. A good facilitator begins with mindfulness, presence and an endless search for self knowledge. Through ever increasing self understanding, we are then able to facilitate others to look deeply within and find the the awesome parts of themselves that are buried there.
So for me facilitation is the act of enabling people to get in touch with those inner parts of themselves that, if revealed, make them great in their own eyes and those of the world.
So to sum up:
A good facilitator Is one who can help people navigate their own unique journey through uncharted waters to attain the highest possible success.
A good facilitator encourages people to go within rather than “go without” and realise their own potential.
A good facilitator begins with self.
So…I don’t think this class is for me. I like knowing what’s going on like all the time!
This doesn’t take away the fact that group two did well with their facilitating.
I would still like to know what we are doing after that. We read stories…discussed them in our groups for what again? dololo! no marks…nothing.
Perhaps it’s the flu typing but I don’t like the chaotic nature of the class…I could cry!
“I have never met a man so ignorant that I couldn’t learn something from him” – Galileo Galilei
I realized something on Saturday’s facilitation class, something magical. It happened while we had our group discussions in groups of fours and then two’s. I knew that this class would take me out of my comfort zone since I am an introvert and I really just enjoy my own company and minding my own business, so I really wasn’t looking forward to such discussions. In trying to come up with different explanations about this and that and defining what facilitation is from each of our own perspective, it made me realise that though we are all so different, coming from different backgrounds and having different experiences…what connects us is that we are all trying to find answers in what everyday life throws at us and in trying to find those answers we add a link to what each of us didn’t know before and that creates a new view/perspective from what you knew before. That’s knowledge gained. In my group, we all had different ideas about what facilitation is. It was in linking our ideas that we eventually came up with one definition. Here’s to creating more links and experiencing more magical moments.
18 July 2016
For many years I have played with the idea of writing a blog. The thought of generating an electronic platform to share my learnings and create a space to share my journey and what I have learnt, as well as search for other well written bogs to learn from other people’s journeys and learnings, really draws me.
Saying that, I have always been so intimidated with the thought of publishing my thoughts on-line. The vulnerability and leaving myself out in the open for criticism and trolling has left me completely intimated by the whole thought.
When I attended my first lecture at WITS on facilitation, the facilitator Roslyn Solomon said we are required to write a blog every single week after lectures and my panic immediately set in. I could barely hear anything and just heard my blood pumping in my ears.
All the forums I have read on how to write and structure an excellent blog went out the window when I was faced with this empty page……….THE PANIC AND TERROR
So I just let go and started typing, eager to get my thoughts on “paper” and start this journey of blogging.
The rest of the first day I was left feeling out of sorts and confused about what was expected, what the learning outcomes were and what was expected from me.
I have always struggled with the “traditional learning environment”. Lectures and parrot fashion regurgitation has always frustrated me to no end.
This whole module is completely different to anything I have ever experienced in a learning environment, and while I am feeling uncertain and unsure, I am terrible excited that everything is different and I am so looking forward to the process of learning and doing.
The first facilitation class made me realize just how difficult it can sometimes be working on a group project with people whom you just met, to be honest i struggled abit at first. When i got home and started telling my family about how class was my mother asked me why was i struggling with the group work. was it maybe the people? or was the topic difficult? and it was at that point when i thought about it trying to find a reason i could blame my difficulty on but i could’nt, my group members were nice, smart and enthusiatic people. How was it so easy for them to adjust to a group project with strangers. At first i thought i was struggling because im not a morning person and i was grumpy because i hadnt consumed my caffeine fix for the day. I had to be honest with myself i was struggling because i was anxious, getting good marks for this project depended on how well i would have to work with people i met on the same day. This was something that overwhelmed me but i realised that because i had already taken the challenge of studying again then this would just be a journey i needed to take and an opportunity to get out of my comfort zone and interact with new people who also had the same challenge of studying in common with me. This was some what comforting.
The past Saturday, I attended an elective course titled Facilitation. All looked usual as I entered the lecture room with classroom style seating. Shock and horror Statement 1… the lecturer mentions that she is completely right brained! More shock and horror 2 follows… words like “reflection”, “self-learning”, “self-awareness” enter the lexicon in the room. OMG! Starting to panic, silent screams “Hey where are the TECHNICAL SKILLS?” “I am here to gain facilitation skills”. Don’t get me wrong… I am as interested in self awareness as Daniel Goleman (best-selling author of the book Emotional Intelligence)… but just not in the lecture room! Palms sweating, heart racing, panic is mounting. Shock and horror statement 3 “Right. Now I want you to push the desks to the edge and form a circle”. Oh no! What is this?… Desks are as integral to learning as tea is to cup! Pounding in the chest… starting to sweat. Oh wait… what’s that, we are doing a fishbowl. Lecturer’s voice “observe the inner circle as I assist the first group to prepare for their lecture”. Observing, Wait, hey, oh, ah ok I see. Could this be…? Oh wow! Well I will be damned. Fishbowl… I just learnt a technique. YES! YES! YES! Technical skills. Its happening. What just happened here is ACTIVE LEARNING. And guess what – they’re talking about it at Harvard too!! That was the pearl the lecture ended on! I had to find out more and am blown away. Right brained people are leading this innovation. Out of my comfort zone… and open to the learning process.
A little sneak peak for the next post where we will talk more about this interesting way of learning which is NOT centred on single person teaching:
“Active learning is generally defined as any instructional method that engages students in the learning process. In short, active learning requires students to do meaningful learning activities and think about what they are doing” (Michael Prince, Bucknell University, 2004).
More next post… get to know what renowned Harvard Professor Eric Mazur is saying about active learning!
Wishing you warmth of the African sun! J
A New Arrival Into The Fish Bowl!
A cheap metaphor conjured by my dramatic limbic system: Isn’t it strange that a goldfish is actually orange but, attributed as gold – a color associated with divinity and, prestige. Perhaps a goldfish is referred to as gold not because of its appearance but, because of its characteristics to survive in extreme temperatures? Quite like myself – resilient. Resilience is a prerequisite for success as well as holistic assimilation of knowledge and, liberal-altruistic teaching.
My name is Carlo and, my life can be summarized by an event in the Bible – Peter calling out to Jesus to invite him to walk on water alongside Jesus; but due to fear and, doubtfulness Peter began to sink – This applies to facilitation skills. I am aware that I am transcendent and, liberalized in being but, with great power comes great responsibility; with greater freedom comes great uncertainty.
To me facilitation skills meant teaching others and, helping the less fortunate; to my greatest surprise it involved a deep form of inter-connectedness as well as self-teaching; something which frightens me because, it requires my emotional and, spiritual state to be unrestrained – emotions as well as spirituality fuels my consciousness and, higher thinking.
The first day of Facilitation Skills was like a scene from Harry Potter; Divination with professor Trelawney, revealing to Harry that he has the Grim, an ominous foreboding on his life (darkness cannot extinguish light, it only accentuates its presence) I’ve learnt from my peers that we share a common enemy – our fears and, constriction by norms. Rosslyn Solomon my very own professor Trelawney indicated to me that if you wish to facilitate knowledge to others, you must understand the content as well as you understand yourself.
The greatest highlight of the lecture is that facilitation skills is a type of learning vs teaching experience, which requires mass participation – a type of academic preaching.
So I do terribly at early morning wake-ups. My brain is just not ready for life at 6am. Or even at 8am. As a matter of fact, probably not even at 10am.
Give me an evening of productive activity any day!
So when I found myself stumbling out of bed for a Facilitation Skills class which starts at 8:30am, I was cursing the day I signed up for it. Ideally, a coffee would have made me feel a little better, or at the very least added a bit of bounce in my step. Alas, my body doesn’t deal well with caffeine and I’ve had to give it up.
So I’m stuck with rooibos tea – an amazing drink but certainly not bounce-inducing.
Anyway, stumbling out of bed for a class which I thought started at 9am (I later found out it starts at 8:30am! On a Saturday! Why?)
When I arrived at class I realised that I didn’t know much about what to expect from this class. It was a much bigger class than I was used to, and the only thing anyone had told me about it was that it was fun and that there was no exam.
After the first hour I realised there was a lot more to it than that. I would need to engage – actively – every Saturday morning in order to pass. The idea was daunting. On no caffeine, could it be done?
After we were broken into groups and we got to talking I realised that I wasn’t the only one who had reservations about this class. Some people were nervous, others not feeling well, and other just not sure what to expect. My group’s topic is Freeing the Mind and we spent some time talking about what that meant to each of us. The answers differed considerably – for some people it was about the scientific process of how the mind thinks. For others it was about breaking free from the things that block you and being able to free yourself up to new ideas.
Part of the process of freeing my mind for me will removing the mental block of not being a morning person in order to get the most out of this experience. The only question is how?
So, its 23h18 and I find myself wondering what I want to blog. The course is an elective for me and I wasn’t sure what to expect. I have to admit I wasn’t expecting so many people to be attending this class. I have never done this before and I think it will be an interesting way to explore my creative side. I love meeting new people and learning about them. The groups are amazing with wonderful perspectives on how to bring our allocated topics to life. Looking forward to seeing you all.
Tired now. Had a class tonight. Better get my beauty sleep so I can be on time tomorrow.