Category Archives: Week 1

Week 1-First Class

And so it begins; that feeling of walking into a room full of strangers hoping to see a familiar face or hear a familiar voice. Ive been to many of these classes in my journey here at the University. Finally its the last year and with fatigue setting in I cant help but count the points leading up to graduation. Its a sad truth that one would pay a fee and hope just to collect the points. The first class however offered some time to reflect on why we are all registered for this class. Surely we should be taking more away than just points. Thinking about that first class reminds me of how we confronted getting out of our comfort zones through a series of introductions that lead us to the formation of our syndicate groups. The main points that hit home is that I am responsible for my own learning and development, the more open you become the more you will be able to learn from others. The truth is that everyone has something to offer and if we allow ourselves to meet new people we might just make new connections that open a whole new world to us. I made a new friend too, who feels like an old friend and so I look forward to new experiences, thought provoking conversations, laughter and hopefully a fun facilitation class! A quote come to mind as I trade the next few Saturdays “Change is the end result of all true learning.” “Learning never exhausts the mind.” “For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.” “Learning is not attained by chance, it must be sought for with ardor and attended to with diligence.”

Week 6: Honouring Differences

  • I was amazed by the group that was facilitating on the day. Their topic was well planned as they were able to incorporate the different traditional cultures where I now understand how culture differs. It was pleasing to see the combined effect and teamwork amongst the Honouring Differences team.
  • Another exciting thing is when I see each of them wearing traditional clothes from different cultural groups and try to demonstrate those cultures even though each of them espoused the other culture. It was such a wonderful experience and open-minded practical topic. I was very much happy and excited that all South African recognized culture was well represented and how they also explained the attitude and behavior. Unfortunately, it was bad for South Africa to remains as diverse as a nation hence we are called ourselves the “rainbow nation”. It was a well-researched and presented topic.
  •  I think as responsible parents we need to make sure that our children be allowed to attend government gatherings such as Heritage day in order to learn the different cultures and felt proud of their own history as a nation…and a rich dissimilar culture and heritage we carry.

Week 3: Working in Teams

WORKING IN TEAMS

On that week I was unable to attend the class due to unforeseen circumstances but one of my colleague (Mandy) share the information with me and I appreciate because it was so relevant to the advantage of working with team due to the fact that  I already enjoyed in the first week and it was easy for me to work successfully through teamwork. To work in a team-taught me that every human process is a key factor and it is very important to understand that people formed an organisation to accomplish the task to be performed by an individual and everyone will continue to be a challenge as long as people work together.  It is encouraging that when you are a facilitator, one should always embrace the following when working or facilitating a team:

  • Honour the wisdom of a group.
  • Encouraging trust in the capacity and experience of others.
  • Maintain neutrality during the facilitation process.
  • Practice self-assessment and self-awareness
  • Maintain an objective, non-defensive, non-judgemental stance
  • Act with integrity
  • Trust the process.

setting goals

i am finally getting blogging off the ground. i have been very apprehensive about this…have never used any social media platforms. also trying to adjust to how the class functions. i also had to erase everything that i think i knew about facilitation in order to maximise learning from the content of the module. have been facilitating staff through change/performance management in the work place and students through their development. during the goal setting presentation my focus was more about learning new ways/skills/approach of facilitating on this particular topic as techniques and tools may differ to get objectives and aims across.

First Class

The main reason I enrolled for facilitation course was to get points which will help me to get my degree, but when Ros started talking about what Facilitation is all about – it sort of gave me new perspective. It gave courage to be able to engage with other people, confidence in public. For quite sometime I had a weakness when it comes to public speaking but this really is going to help me to overcome that weakness.

Ros also mentioned that facilitation is all about couching/mentoring, teaching, lecturing, presenting and gardening. All these aspects make facilitation. Very interesting…

FIRST DAY IN … WEEK 1

Drake – STARTED FROM THE BOTTOM NOW WE ARE HERE !!

Class on a Saturday 🙁 GREAT

One would presume walking into the facilitation class that it would just be a walk in the park, thinking you know everything , that there is nothing possibly new one could learn in this class after being at Wits for a few years. This seemed like a simple exercise just to gain credits, it was rather funny to hear that of my colleagues were really just here to collect credits , like myself.

From the onset the lesson begun , We form syndicates , to which I am not particularly a fan of because I am an introvert.

It is at this point where you learn that you don’t know everything . People in the room will have different opinions to you. Giving others an opportunity to voices there opinions could give you an opportunity to learn something new. Through syndicates discussions and solutions to problems maybe found as compared to being alone

as the saying goes ” two heads are better than one “

Week 1 – Intro

And so it begins… a new start; a new journey!

Well… my journey started out with a bit of confusion, the instruction from the Wits Plus team was that the class started at 9:00am. My initial thought was “yes, I don’t have to get up at the crack of dawn to get to class”, but I was so wrong. The class started at 8:30am and I was already 30 minutes late and to top it all off, I had no idea which class I needed to go to… My first thoughts when registering for this course was “it’s going to be so easy, piece of cake”, we will probably just get a couple of lectures, write and exam and that’s that. I had no idea what I was in for!

When I eventually found the class, I was amazed to see the number of people who were there, needless to say it was quite overwhelming because I was expecting a small group of people. I was told to find a group of people who live in the same area as I did. This was a little confusing to me, it may have been explained to the group earlier but I went along and found my group.

My group was allocated to Honouring Differences. All I could think about at this stage was “What are going to present?”

Although it was the first day, I gained a lot of value; I made a committment to be open minded about the whole facilitation experience, to take a step back and actively listen to people, not to allow other people to deter my opinions, and not to over think things.

Week 1 – intro to the class

Waking up to go to class on a Saturday was very difficult indeed but looking through the content of what will be covered, rather excited me… My job requires me to lead various strategies around change management as well as transformation, diversity and Inclusion. This mean i need to facilitate various weekly workshops, training sessions as well as masterclasses. From the looks of the course content, this course will greatly assist me in my daily job.

I also got to meet a whole bunch of new people which i quite like and speaks directly to my strength profile.

Week 1: Embarking on this journey

Right now I feel ambivalent. One the one hand, I’m pleasantly surprised by the openness of the space in the class and the way the session is being conducted. I’ve been here for all of 20 minutes just by the way.. – so, I like the general energy so far. On the other hand however, I’m concerned  about missing the first session, which was held last week. Registration and admin delayed me and my access to information regarding the logistics of the class. Anywhooo, I’m really excited to be a part of this, its super interactive and you’re sort of forced to participate authentically- it should be enriching for everyone. Yay!
Interesting- I think this is one of the most diverse classes I’ve been a part of at wits, class, race, ethnicity, AGE, outlook etc. Of course the fact that its’s a Wits Plus class means that the students will generally be older but I guess I hadn’t really prepared for it- it’s a bit of a culture shock interacting with the rest of the class so intimately, its something we don’t generally do in other courses. We hardly share personal experiences in the way I think we will here.
Aha moment: Be open. to the experience, to learning, to doing things differently. Its very apparent that I will be pushed to execute the course differently from any other academic course I’ve done..which is AMAZING!

First Class and Introduction

I was confused, what was going on in this class? (I asked myself). The Facilitator then divided us into groups of tens each. Each group was given a topic, wait for it… “we were told that we needed to prepare for presentations!” This was an unexpected notification, no let me rephrase this.. it was an instruction. Where do I begin with this task? I am afraid of public speaking and standing in front of people and address them. Where do I start?

Nonetheless, I met new people in my group. We engaged with each other and I found myself among new characters, young and old. This is interesting, I said to myself. With these new characters, what do we do to speak with one voice? being human, there was a lot of prejudging as well from my side of these new individuals I had met. Maybe they also did the same with me. As soon as we engaged…I knew that I had bad habits that I needed to work on and be a better person.

This was a learning curve for me.

Push…Let’s go!!

first week

The introduction to facilitation class was overwhelming, looking at the number of people in attendance.As an introvert i wondered how on earth was i going to mix with these people. However, being encouraged to mix with others via age and place of residence it became easier, especially after being grouped with my team. The highlight of the 1st class is realizing that many of us enrolled the facilitation course just to gain points. what was astonishing for me was realizing that i am about to face my fear, acknowledge my weaknesses and embrace my strength. lastly, that i am not alone in this journey, i have the support of my team and that of the facilitators.

Introduction to Facilitation:

This morning I woke up with heart palpitations!

I know, I know, sounds idiotic but please, give me a minute to explain.

So, after waking up in a cold sweat with heart palpitations, spilling coffee on myself and my car not wanting to start, it pretty much seems like “par for the course” at this point. I eventually leave home with a not-so-positive mind-set, not knowing what was waiting for me when I get to the university to start my new Facilitation Skills Workshop. Not only do I not know where this class is, what to expect and the “hellishly” cold front which we are now experiencing, I get to the building and we are all locked out. Yes, locked out! There is a queue of people trying to get in the building and their access cards just don’t work. I step up, try mine and bam! It works – finally something is going right in my life!

I am now in the building and everyone else is outside – feeling like a fish in a bowl, I think to myself, crap, you should have stayed outside with everyone else, “brothers in arms” and all that jazz. Luckily not too long thereafter, there is an absolute gem who comes to our rescue and unlocks the building.

So, off we go to the classroom, mmmm pretty big, lots of tables and chairs. In my mind I am telling myself that … it doesn’t necessarily mean that each table and chair will be filled… – relax Bronwyn, there are only like 25 people in your English class, can’t imagine that there will be too much more people here. Then, after a while, the palpitations start again, so many people! People just keep flocking into the class, one after the other after the other. I am lost, there are over 100 people and I am just a cog in the wheel of this giant class. There are too many people, should I stay or should I just leave?????

No!

Breathe in ….. deep breath…… breathe out ….. Breathe in 

….. deep breath…… breath out …..

There will be no giving up today. The day pretty much progressed from there.

Roslyn Solomon, the course designer and administrator is great. Telfer, the other facilitator, is just as great. They have outstanding synergism and just make you feel good about the class. I especially love the closing of the door idea. It ensures that you hold yourself accountable for yourself. It encourages you to respect yourself and your fellow class mate’s time and commitment to the class.

The next boulder in the road was NOT SITTING AT A DESK! How will I cope? Moving around, splitting up into groups and then into smaller groups. Oh my…. New people! But I handled it. I took it with a pinch of salt and carried on as if it didn’t bother me one bit!

Besides the basic speech about what the facilitators can expect from us and what we can expect from them, the class introduction was about gaining value! Why are you here? What you hope to achieve and what you need to do to ensure that you take away the most that you can from this course.
I decided then and there that I have to be present and that I have to listen, I have to reject my bad habit of tuning people out when their ideas are not in line with mine. I have to be honest about what I think, respect other people’s opinions and listen to understand and not just to respond.
We then, in our smaller groups, were given our Live Demonstration Presentation Assignment. My group’s topic is Honouring Difference – What a broad topic! The tips were things like: -start off by setting intent – this is a very important point. Check your target audience. Maintain your objective. Use tools and remember substance over form.

This weeks “takeaway”: This is a practical course, I will have to participate in groups and I will have to do a whole lot of self-reflection.

During the coming week, I will make extra effort to: Be present, listen and remember what I am trying to achieve!

My first facilitation class experience

I can recall walking to the front door building and I was welcomed by a group of people, at the time, I had no idea that they will be in the same facilitation class I was heading to. Amongst the group stood a friendly woman who told me they were waiting for someone to unlock the door. She was friendly and I later learned that she was one of the facilitators. Walking inside the building I didn’t know what to expect or rather where to go, as the group was already inside. I bumped into another student who was looking for the same class. We both walked around until we found the class. To my surprise …there I was looking for FNBGA but the class I needed to find was FNB24. I was frustrated that there was no signage and I didn’t know where to go but I eventually found it.

Now, this was a totally different class from my English class which is intimate and consists of 16 students. The introduction by both Ros and Telfer was good and seamless but I found the class to be chaotic and not orderly especially when we had to find people from the same area, same age etc. I was so confused and claustrophobic and immediately thought “Oh no am I going to enjoy the class?” I mean it is a big class. The first group who did their presentation about setting goals changed my view and opinion about the class considering that they had to just hop on the bus but handled it quite well. I thoroughly enjoyed my second attendance. Looking back should I have asked myself the same question? Well my answer is no and it was then I realised that all I needed was to breath…warm up to change, a big group and our ever-changing seating arrangement. Thats all!.

Setting Goals

A friend of mine told me how interesting facilitation class was, so I couldn’t wait to experience that myself. Then I got to be on the first group to facilitate, I totally panicked but when I looked at the people around me, half of them were very happy to be the first group and I couldn’t understand because clearly my confidence level was not the same as everyone else. But because of positive attitude from my group members I managed to get on board.

Some how I felt the topic was talking to me because I realized that my goals are not as SMART as they should be, so because of the goal setting topic I had to sit down and fix a few things to make sure that my goals are clear and achievable. This was really an eye opener because I managed tosee what I am doing wrong and I am busy fixing it at the moment…

First day at facilitation lecture

I registered for facilitation course with the intention to gain credits. I did not know what to expect and was looking forward to know what facilitation was all about. I was amazed to actually find that it was more about self mastery than just facilitation. The course will actually help me to step out of my weaknesses and step into my strengths to create a well balanced individual that can interact well within a team. Naturally I am a shy person and very introverted . I look forward to step out of my shell of shyness and to be more outspoken. I am also a perfectionist and very particular with the way things should be done. What I have also learnt is the need to step into my perfectionism and  tone it down to enable be to fit into a team environment because the course is focused on team work.  The setting of the class room is in groups around the circle and not the traditional way of individually at a desk. 

The first day was indeed very exciting the facilitators were fantastic. They managed to set the tone of the course very well  and managed to dispel the notion of doing the course for credits. It was lovely to interact with new people and hear their stories . I never thought that I would be blogger and here I am today blogging away my experiences. So thanks to facilitation course for the exposure.      

First Class

This was such an exciting class! I am looking forward to the quarter! This year has truly been a journey of unlearning and learning anew – I look forward to what will become unearthed through the course.

I previously held to the belief that I was shy, that evolved to me believing I was reserved – I am now content in saying I am introverted but as I grow, I find that none of these molds don’t fit well enough, and I am excited by that! Class began with an exercise of finding someone who was the same gender and age as you – approximately. Interestingly, I was drawn to someone a decade older – I wonder what it says of my self-perception… We ended the exercise with what are now our syndicate groups and our topic is Honoring Difference – A topic that interest me.

Interestingly, having been at Wits since 2014, I have not been able to understand what this class was about – no one could give a clear answer… Let’s see how it will go, I’m excited!

First week of Facilitation Skills

Day 1 of Facilitation Skills.
After registering I could not commence or accomplish the content of the course, Facilitation skills. The distress of the unfamiliar was disturbing, and I would recollect with my past experiences where I would give up without trying. Also, this was my first class after a six-years long break from studying.

The morning of the 20th of July 2019 I woke up early but lost the track time and I was late which lead to panic. I arrived on campus 20 mins late, got lost looking for the class but a sight of relieve came when fellow students were looking for the same facilitation class. When we finally found the class and I was in distraught doubting what I have missed since class started. The class was packed approximately 100+ students attended.

Most seating was taken and the only seating I could find was in front, everyone was seated, paying attention to what the teacher was saying.  Sat and listened courteously to make up what Rosslyn had already said. Already I am sensing a different overview of the course content. I was amazed with excitement yet terrified of what is expected from me. Presenting in front the whole class I wanted to walk out and deregister, writing essays, group interactions and blogging none of the areas I dominant. I had decided and believed in improving what I lack and my inabilities. Essay writing, blogging and presenting I prefer if someone is doing it.

After everything was explained I looked forward to the next class. This course is what I need, the are some areas in need to improve on massively. Missing a class is not an option by the end of class groups were made and given a topic to facilitate on, and our topic was Facilitation decisions.

I settled fine into my group. 

Against All Odds

A lot has changed in the past years. The last time I was in class was in 2001. The thought of going back to school after such a long time got me all excited and nervous.

The teaching methods and learning environment has changed, technology is advanced. I am not good at public speaking nor talking in front of a crowd so doing Facilitation Skills made me feel uneasy.

As Maya Angelou would say ” All great achievements reguire time” I am not letting my past define my future. I am purpose driven so i am willing to learn from every person and any experience.

Week 1 – What is your Story?

I’m a 1995 baby. A born-free white South African female. 24 years later, I find myself sitting in the WITS Plus Facilitation class as one of the youngest members, feeling anxious with the least life experiences and little worldly knowledge. I was shy, I was quiet. I was the introverted me.

At 1pm that day, I left that class feeling emotionally stronger. I was allowed into the personal lives and stories of complete strangers.
Everyone has a story to tell and I only told part of mine, because I was not comfortable enough to share more than what I did and, for this, I feel guilty. But comfort comes in time and I’m hoping that time is on my side in this situation.

Watching the YouTube clip, “A Single Story” was so special and inspirational. Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche is definitley one of the strongest individuals that I have come across. In her TedTalk, she said that the single story creates stereotypes, and that the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but they are incomplete. This statement struck me the most and was the turning point for me of the entire talk. It was the point when I realised how much judgement passes through my mind everyday. The only thing I can say about it, is that I’m sorry.

I wonder how much stereotyping took place when I never spoke up and waited until the very end to say some of My Story? I wonder what everyone thought about me after they heard what I had to say? I wonder what story they had made of me?

Week 1

Walking into the facilitation class I was filled with so much excitement; because when I walked in Rosslyn was busy writing our timetable on the board; so that gave an impression that the class would be formal and very organized. That was short-lived a few minutes later the class grew in numbers and Rosslyn began looking overwhelmed.  The class was difficult to control, Rosslyn giving many tasks at the same time; such as to move tables and chairs to the side of the class and type our details on her computer; which then the battery died so people could no longer type in their details. It was difficult to be put into groups for out presentations.

That whole day spent in class was full of confusion and resistance; because I wanted to drop the class as I felt that it had no direction.  We eventually got put into groups for our presentations. Our group was the first to present the following Saturday. It was overwhelming as we did not know what was expected from us; all we had was a topic: Communicating via Social media. The good thing was that we had a group that gelled together. Out brainstorming session was easy and very quick. We knew what our concept would be. I left the class feeling edgy and uncertain about what the class was about.

Lesson from that day: People do not always plan; it is okay. I must learn to go with the flow.

Late Registration Anxiety

I registered late for the course by at least three weeks. I realised late in the semester that i needed to do this course in order to develop my presentation skills both personally and work wise. I have lately been exposed a lot in meetings, social engagements as well as political activism, i knew very well i do not want to be the type of person that enforces her views on people, it was in that instance that i realised i needed to do a course on personal development or business communication or anything related.

I started  browsing what is available at wits plus on weekends, i came across Facilitation skills course and i knew then that this is what i need. The attendance schedule was perfect too. I got the confirmation on friday the 3rd of august that my application was successful. I was excited and anxious at the same time because i had already missed three weeks of attendance, the thought of catching up with three weeks of work, the missed assignments, the tests, getting the course pack and meeting new classmates was a bit uneasy for me but it was something that had to happen.but here i am doing better than i anticipated and content with my course choice.

i attended the facilitation skills class for the first time today, i could not easily find the venue but i eventually did. what i learnt today was that this class was going to change how i think, how i get my message across, how i react and how i interact. My fellow student were already in the specified groups and allocated topics to facilitate and dates of facilitation. i was allocated one as well on that day. what i took in cognisance was that one never seize to learn.

Introduction to Facilitation

This marked my first day at Wits. A day that made reality sunk that my Saturdays will no longer be spent with my kids. What a day!

It was overwhelming walking into this huge class of about 200 individuals. It felt heavy for me, and only to find that the lecture feels the same way too. She then decided to divide us into 2 classes…the morning(08h-12h) and afternoon(12h30-15h30) for ease management.

I always confused facilitation skills with presentation skills and hoped to walk away on that day knowing the difference. The lecture unpacked what the class is all about and established what our expectations were individually.

That became a deciding factor for me personally!

Something “new” is about to happen!

My first day at the Facilitation Skills class really turned out to be different. It left me feeling that…”something new was about to happen!”  It all started as I was on my way to the lecture. Walking around trying to find the classroom for this course; I was approached by my lecturer who politely asked if I was looking for the Facilitation Skills class, then kindly handed me a study guide and pointed me to the direction of the class. I thought…this was the first!

So eventually the lecture started and there were a lot of us. The class did indeed turn out to be different in many ways. In order to accommodate everyone, a decision was made to break the class into two sessions, a morning and an afternoon one. I opted for the afternoon as this would allow me the opportunity to attend the Economics tutorials that happen on Saturday mornings.

Our lecturer requested that we re-arrange the seating in the class into a circle. This resulted in a lot of chaos that irritated some of the people in class. For me it wasn’t much of a bother because seeing the numbers, I had already made up my mind that I am just going to go with the flow; and really if there was chaos, SO WHAT???

Things eventually settled and we moved into a more organised type of chaos which brought a sense of excitement for me; the child in me was somewhat ignited! I guess I am one of those “fun-loving” people; so a bit of commotion tends to excite me. Following some introductions, we went through a brief rundown of what the course was about. What stood out for me was the fact that someone enquired from the facilitator about the register so that we could all sign as confirmation that we were indeed in the class. The response from the facilitator was most fascinating. She said that she does not keep a register for her classes because she believes that people will attend because they want to be there, and whoever did attend, was meant to be there! I thought WOW…I had never heard of that in any class before.

Before ending the class, we were allocated groups and given topics that we were going to prepare for facilitation in class in the weeks to come. I enjoyed the rest of the session. I met and was introduced to new people. I discovered a new way of learning, where one does not just sponge information then later regurgitate it. Here, one was allowed to think outside of the box and to also express one’s feelings. What a day it was!

Facilitation is – ……

It is early Saturday morning and I am on my way to lectures. I enrolled for the Facilitation Skills course through Wits Plus Part Times Studies as an elective course.

I arrive a few minutes late, and am surprised to see that there are quite a few students enrolled for this course. Although the class is quite big it is nice to see some familiar faces.

Eventually the class settles down and the lecturer Roslyn Solomon introduces herself, and then proceeds to explain how the course is structured and what is expected of us.

So my first thought after Roslyn tells us that we will be doing a group facilitation is “oh no!!Please no!!not more group work!!!”. Well I guess I have no other option, so I am assigned to a group.

We are then given the topic that we need to prepare and present to the class. Okay so the topic is not a bad one – “communicating via social media”, the only concern is we are the first group and we have less than a week to prepare and present. No pressure!!!

After the break Roslyn provides the first two groups that will be presenting with some pointers and ideas as to what to do for the presentation. I found these quite helpful, and judging by how our group started brainstorming while we were sitting in a “fishbowl setup” I am sure our group will make use of these pointers.

After the chaos of the morning it was interesting to reflect on the morning’s activities, and to realise that this course is going to be fun and will challenge the way I am used to learning.

Time for the creative and out the box thinking cap….and according to free dictionary facilitation is an act of assisting or making easier the progress or improvement of something. Assist, assistance, help, aid – the activity of contributing to the fulfillment of a need or
furtherance of an effort or purpose

INTRODUCTION TO FACILITATION SKILLS

My first day in class was a very uncomfortable experience for reasons centred on noise levels, minimal clarity on the course entailed. The agonising task of constructing a coherent structure for any given topic was triggered a very deep-seated anxiety which I hadn’t surfaced for a long time. It was, however, interesting to meet people in the group as it exposed me to different ways of thing about our designated topic: Learning From Life. The different personal approaches made for a colourful experience.

Just the Beginning

So it is day one, and a very interesting start indeed. This was not quite what I had in mind… From moving around furniture and rearranging the classroom and then having to be placed in teams with strangers for group work. This scared me a little, the strangers in my group, not knowing where this is going and what to expect.
During all the chaos we finally got a chance to meet my group members, and I felt settled and more relaxed, I had amazing people in my group, we clicked and started flowing with ideas, and then in a few minutes we were combined with another LARGER group but we just come together as if we were not separated. What a day!!!! We need to expect the unexpected things in life.

Introduction to Facilitation Skills

My first expectation when i entered this class, was that it will be just like any other typical course that a lecture stands on the podium and we just stick to our books, but to my surprise it wasn’t. We started by doing a few activities that i think confused the whole class about the relation between what we were doing and the course. We had to draw a random numbers and everything will be explained at the end. Once everything settled down, Ross explained to us that, she will be teaching us how to learn in a more pro active way. This class, was more of an interactive manner of learning. The biggest lesson I have learned is the difference between facilitating and presenting.

In order to show our understanding regarding facilitation we had to form groups, and given specific topics that we should facilitate. i had no idea what to expect and whats bad is that i am in the first group. Lucky enough my “syndicates”‘ gave me the feeling that we can do it.

Communicating via social media

Oh what a topic this is!

Social media has taken over. We tweet from everywhere, we snapchat  and facebook and we have a thousand  friends we’ve never met. Is this a blessing or a curse?

Well it is both. It is a blessing because social media has made it easier for us to communicate but people can get buried in the darkness of it which includes cyberbullying. What I can say is that we live in interesting times

Introduction to Facilitation

Coming to the class my expectations and what I have learned were two different things. I came with the expectation that I shall learn how to be in charge of any presentation or facilitation in my own way, however what I have learned is more than I have expected.

I have learned that facilitation is more about putting more lenses on. Putting yourself in your audience shoes. Getting everyone involved when making ground rules. Getting your audience to participate in the facilitation instead of a facilitator bombarding them with information. Over all I have learned that facilitation is  a two way process.

WEEK 1

I walked in the class looking lost, not knowing what to do because it was packed.It was a big chaos but we managed to sit down .The facilitator started distributing the numbers that everyone chose and we were divided into two groups the afternoon and morning group.Then she introduced hereself i could not hear what she said, i was annoyed and tired.

First day in class for Facilitation Skills

My return into school after i took a gad semester, i was eager to begin semester classes again since the thirst was too much it needed a quench which was books. The difficulty when registering what modules to do was choosing the modules for the semester, so when i saw that i had no choice but to choose facilitation already with the hearsay i heard from students who did the module i already knew what to expect “the boring” part as uttered by everyone.

My first day was different from what i came in perceiving it to be, it was a space i really needed to be at and the medium that would align my soul searching journey at. Off course it was a bit of a “WOOW” moment however i was very interested to know what will happen next due to the experience i had on my first day. It was an incredible class session and it really tapped in my soul, conscious and mind to want to come and do more of these class sessions.

My first day at Wits Plus Facilitation Skills class

My first day in class I arrived early, I was given a workbook took a seat and I didn’t know what to expect, all I knew was that the class was about facilitation. I was given a laptop to put in my name and few minutes later there was a bag going around where we had to pick out a number and I was confused I didn’t know what that number was for  later on I discovered that the number was for determining which group you are in. I met my group members, very good people, and we were chosen to be the first group to facilitate the following week, I thought that was really unfair as we’ve just met as a group and we had only few days to prepare for the facilitation.

Welcome to facilitation

“Hi, my name is chaos and for the remainder of the day I am gonna fluff your feathers so much you will feel ruffled, the door is open if you do not like discomfort. But hey, you are welcome to stay. Please stay! While you at it pick a number. Did you get a book by the door when you got in? Take a seat and put your name on that apple.”

Well, Ros may have sounded a lot kinder and gentler in that first class but between the chaos on the green board chalk written calender that kept being shuffled and changed, the whistle and the overcrowded class – my anxiety screamed those exact words, line by line. Her exact words: welcome to the eye of the needle.

Well, I do not mind chaos (my own, that is) but Roslyn’s class had me a tad bit uncomfortable. I picked the number 10 and walla I was paired and packaged to build relationships. Really? First day?! Don’t you know I hate groups!? Bite the bullet babe, it’s for marks. Points, remember? Sanity kicked back in and I embraced the storm.

Welcome to the eye of the needle! Profound and poetic to say the least. And all this unfolding does not prepare you for what comes next, all the Aha moments that come as the weeks go by and classes flow. But the lesson for this first class is: what seems is not always what is and what is is not always what seems, so; trust the process.

—Rethabile

Social Media

Social media is a collection of online platforms and tools that people use to share content, profiles, opinions, insights, experiences, perspectives, facilitating conversations and interactions online between groups of people.
Social Networking is the act of connecting on social media platforms. Social Media Today argue that the purpose of social media marketing is to build a brand and increase a brand’s visibility, through building relationships and communicating with potential customers.
I learned different platforms that one can use to communicate with family and friends,the different types of platforms I like are WhatsApp which can be used to communicate with family and friends and its very convenient and cheap at the same time.
The other is Facebook and Instagram,where you can easily communicate with friends from all over the world, you get easy access to pictures and  the lives of other people, it  also updates you on current trends, work and business opportunities.

My first day in Facilitation – 21 July 2018

Appreciating the chaos before my eyes!

http://1 – Source: https://www.pexels.com/photo/learning-schooling-text-54597/

How can I be late on my first day! This is not what I do!

I went to campus expecting that class would start at 9:00am as inducted however, class started at 8:30am therefore, that caused a lot of anxiety.

We were welcomed to class and asked to grab a seat. We quickly found seats and oh boy, the class was full and loud.

I liked the fact that classmates were very helpful to the “late comers”; they quickly pointed what they were discussing for us to follow the discussion.

  • We picked numbers out of a paper bag that lead to us being part of syndicate groups. I was so relieved because we were getting to the structure, which I prefer.
  • The large group was divided to 2 classes, that is, the morning and afternoon class. A smaller group meant, going forward, the noise levels will be better and being 1.52 centimeters tall, I would not struggle seeing the chalkboard.

Little did I know that chaos was at a doorstep; we had groups and discussed the topic however, that quickly changed. Another group became part of our group. I wanted the day to be over because I could no longer contain the frustration building up!

One thing that was clear was that I needed to change my mind-set quickly because my goal was to come here to learn and it was not happening.

The next chaos was around the calendar. What are we doing? Am I the only one that keeps holding back tears?

Key take aways: we left knowing the following:

  1. Our syndicate group members
  2. The course structure
  3. The calendar was clear
  4. We don’t need desks like in a traditional class

Introduction to Facilitation Skills

Day one of the facilitation skills was one interesting day, having walked in a class with no idea what to expect or rather presumed that facilitation class was going to be like a traditional formal lecture class but to my surprise I found the complete opposite. We had to know each other by introduction with a person or group next to you. The next thing as I was expecting a lecture, we were asked to move tables around to open the floor. On the other hand, the facilitator is writing the program for the term on the board which I really didn’t understand why the facilitator don’t just send the program via email or post it on Sakai to safe time but later understood that the facilitator prefers not to utilize technology as part of the program. Given the size of the class, the facilitator had to divide the class into two groups for morning and afternoon. Later created syndicate groups which will be maintained for the rest of the course and assigned facilitation topic which each group will have to facilitate. I was so overwhelmed to know that my syndicate group will be doing facilitation the next week on the interesting topic with the tittle named communication via social media.

New Beginnings (Day 1) – 21 July 2018

So, the first thing that came to mind was – Did I make the right decision?????

I was overwhelmed by the number of people registered for this course. I really battled, I was constantly flooded with thoughts of quitting because we didn’t get to the context of the course.

All I could remember was, we were instructed to pick a number that was written on a piece of paper and we were grouped according to that same number. Each group was allocated a topic to be “presented” in class.

My first impression about Roslyn was that she seemed to be disorganized, she was not sure of what she was doing and she didn’t how to manage a large group! I was expecting her to explain to us what the course is about and to discuss the purpose and the objectives of the course.

I left the class feeling drained and I had a lot of unanswered questions.

… oops! I then realised that she took a non-traditional approach and demonstrated her facilitation skills and in fact she was  in  control of what seemed to be an organized chaos/ mess.

Week 1 – Facilitation

First of all I got to the right building at 9:20 in a panicked state, I am late! I thought I was 20 minutes late since the communication some of us got was that class started at 9:00 am (class started at 8:00 am by the way), so actually I was almost 1 and ½ hours late.

So I take the staircase down to facilitation class, this after me and a few of my colleagues got lost trying to find the building we are supposed to be in (see Wits main campus is like a mini province) and as I take the last sort of 3 or 4 steps I see this room full of people, see in my mind I thought It would only be people I attend English classes with during the week, well I was sorely mistaken! I think there was about close to 150 people in that room (ok I am exaggerating maybe 100).

I get to my seat and as I as I am about to settle in, a black cute paper bag is passed on to me to pick a number out of the bag, while trying to pick a number we are told to put the desks to the side of the room along with the chairs. Chaos erupts! I am confused! I haven’t a clue what is going on. I get out of my chair, put it to the side and as I am about to put my desk to the side, my colleagues whom I attend class with during the week come to my desk and there’s immediately a lot of people where my desk was (all the late comers trying to pick a number)

We were all divided into smaller groups and the class split into two. I ended up with 5 complete strangers, this was going to be interesting. There is 5 girls including myself and 1 guy. By the end of the class I felt somewhat connected to these people, everyone gave the other person a chance to voice out their views, no question was stupid, everyone was so considerate of the next person’s feelings and there is mutual respect amongst us all.

What a refreshing experience 😊 Unusual but refreshing. I feel like I came out of my shell a little bit today.
Don’t ask me what I learned from the text book today, because I have NO idea. I don’t think I even opened the text book today. One thing I DID learn is how to be adaptable and survive in an unfamiliar environment.

My first day at Wits for Facilitation Skills Class

It is a beautiful Saturday morning and the weather is nice. I just arrived at Wits Campus at about 07:15 am. Too excited and couldn’t wait to get into the Facilitation class, I finally got there. Not knowing what to expect, I slowly walked towards the class. In the class, was welcomed by a huge smile from my lecture Roslyn Solomon. The smile did not solve my confusion.

Image result for Confused image

The most serious challenge was that as a full-time employee who is employed as Facilitator by Transnet Freight Rail, I arrive in class with an attitude like “let me see what this lady has instore forme”. My mind could not stop lying to me that I am Mr. Know-all. As Roslyn was going through the orientation, she mentions something regarding the difference between facilitation and presentation. My mind jammed. I have always been under the impression that presentation and facilitation mean one and the same thing. To date, I still thank Roslyn for asking that kind of a question because that is when I started taking her serious and at the same time, I started appreciating my presence at the campus.

It wasnt long before I started appreciating every moment of Roslyn’s lecturing. The Mr know-all mind-set finished without me even realizing. I found myself being the only leaner listening attentively. Time started flying and I didn’t want Roslyn to stop talking.

Soon after class, the same afternoon I contacted my manager and two of my colleagues and told them that I am now getting educated about the field I worked in for nearly a decade.

The rest is history. Since that day 21 July 2018, I enjoyed every moment of all classes attended and vowed never to miss any class.

I must say, my career is being enhanced here! The more I attend Facilitation classes, the more I enjoy my job!

Week 1

So it’s first day of school and am thankful to God for reaching another milestone in my life. I got to Wits campus around 08:35, and started looking for my class. Because of mixed emotions and feeling nervous, it took me 10 mins to find my class only to find out that I am actually close to an hour late yohhhhh, with such a deep sigh I felt weak on my knees like am about to fall down from shock. Not only that but to see more than 100 students in one class didn’t make it any easier. However because of our lecture I started to relax as she requested us to form group and get to know each other.

Week 1 – First Encounter

My first experience in this Facilitation course was rather an interesting one.  To be honest, I am not quite sure what I was expecting to see or find, but what I did find was beyond what I could have imagined.

The class was so full and I worried about how we would all get the attention we needed in order to progress in this course.  There was some confusion regarding the starting time because we had received conflicting information from Wits Plus.  However we soon learned that the time would be changed anyway, especially since the class would be split between morning and afternoon sessions.

We went through the syllabus and what would be required from us in order to be successful in this course.  At this stage I was still a bit confused because I had never any form of facilitation before.  I did have hope that all that was being said, would eventually make sense to me at some point or another.

What I did enjoy was the fact that it did not feel like a typical lecture, but rather an engagement session.  We were not stuck in one position for hours on end.  I also like the fact that I was not the only one who was confused, but almost everyone was too.  This made me feel more comfortable and interested in finding out what would eventually transpire in this course.

I remember feeling so relieved that I was not in Group 1 that would be facilitating on Week 2, as that would have made me really anxious early in my journey of learning what facilitation is about.

Week One: First of its kind

In every situation that we encounter, we often seek comfort in those experiences and things we already know about in interpreting life situations. Our state of awareness becomes caught up in fear of uncertainty and often cling onto what we are familiar with. The first class of Facilitation Skills really presented me with a challenge to adapt to a completely new experience!

After the class, I was nervous, stressed and clueless on what everything was all about because of the approach and structure of the lectures. I had to ensure that I pay more attention in order to grasp the methodology. It was never easy and I believe that study groups enable one to keep up with the pace as to ensure that you give necessary contribution and optimal participation to the group work.

I was at a brink of de-registering the module.  But after the subsequent classes and a friendly advise from one senior fellow student, I reconsidered and decided to go through with it. I decided to keep a positive attitude with the hope that the next weeks will be better than the first one. I looked forward to the coming lectures with a feeling of certainty that I will learn a lot from this subject.

Intro to Facilitation

Stepping into  class I did’t  know what to expect, heard rumors from friends that attended previously  that its nothing to stress about and that I will enjoy it very much..However it was quite different actually very interesting from drawing numbers in the bag, moving the tables and chairs around, splitting ourselves into different groups from the numbers we chose. It was abit chaotic it did not make much sense but in all the madness it made sense in the end.

It became even clearer when Roslyn introduced herself what she does,what the purpose of this class is and how it will equip us in our daily and personal lives with family, friends and the working environment. Most importantly she wants us to have fun because in the learning we will laugh,cry,debate ect…but the gaining of skills and knowledge will be there.

Introduction to Facilitation

The first lecture I attended for facilitation was nothing like what I had expected… I went in expecting to see power point presentations and having discussions on what is being presented/taught to us. To my surprise we moved desks out of the way, got into groups and I realised then that this was going to be a different experience to anything that I have seen or done before. I dreaded being there and even asked myself why I was doing this and how it is going to benefit me. We did an exercise where we were randomly put into groups and it was weird to not be in a group with familiar faces. I like my group members and definitely enjoyed the interaction and the topics discussed and the ideas given by our group. What I didn’t like is that the session felt long (the duration of the class).

Intro To Facilitation

First day of class neh! Kind of had mixed feelings as I was making my way to the lecture venue. Facilitation for me was for points and having heard what it entails, I started having doubts because I’m the biggest introvert I know. I’m not good when it comes to talking in front of people, and most times I think I have Social Anxiety Disorder.

I got to class at around 8:45 and only to realize that class started at 8:00. As I walked into the venue, I was surprised by the number of students in the class but I immediately felt at ease when I saw some familiar faces. I collected the handbook and we were instructed to write down the calendar. Then everyone had to pick a number inside a bag, we were then divided into groups based on the numbers we picked. The lecturer having realized that we were such a large class, divided us into the morning and afternoon groups.  I love my sleep, and I don’t like waking up early on weekends, so I didn’t even think twice about choosing  in the afternoon group. I enjoyed getting to know my group members, and the interaction we had and more especially about our topic (Facilitating Change). We created a WhatsApp group, as everyone was instructed to , for easier communication.

Looking forward to the first presentation! More than anything I’m looking forward to getting out of my comfort zone, engaging more, and becoming more confident to speak in front of people.

THE LEARNING NEVER STOPS!!

Week 1 – Intro to Facilitation

Came to class thinking I was on time but as it turned out, class started 30 min’s earlier. So I came into class, grabbed a book, a number and a seat (not necessary in that order). Everything was pretty formal and I tried to position myself so that I could read off the board as I could see a whole lot of info was already as there that seemed important. Then we were asked to move our seats and desks to the side and that’s when all “hell” broke out. It’s an exaggeration when I say that so let me say its not as bad as it sounds but for me that was when the confusion started. What helped was the facilitator and the skills she used to handle the situation. We were then broken into groups and it seemed we were getting some structure until more confusion was added with regards to the calendar change. The piece of paper I drew had no number and there was so much confusion around the group arrangement as well. The group I eventually ended up in seems interesting and all in all a good learning experience from a practical point of view.

Introduction to Facilitation

Entering the class for the first time I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was handed a workbook as I made my way down, with some incomprehensible instruction to write down a calendar. The venue was entirely quiet, almost as if I had walked into an exam venue with everyone fervently writing down the calendar from the board.
With such a large class, with people joining what felt like every minute, I was quite concerned with the type of learning experience I would receive, especially in a module which should be more practically based than theory.
Roslyn soon realized though that this may pose a problem in the quality of the sessions and suggested the class be split in two, a morning class and an afternoon class. Knowing my weakness for sleep, I naturally chose the afternoon class, which would afford me the opportunity to lay in on a Saturday.
I can say that from that alone I am already looking forward to my facilitation classes a bit more.

Introduction

What a beautiful morning it was, with a very chilly weather and everybody dressed up in their warm jackets. Roslyn waited for us right at the FNB entrance, to ensure that we don’t struggle to access the class venue. Just like a in a normal lecture session, one expected to be equipped with presentation  skills, however I was surprised to learn that there is a huge difference between prrsentation and facilitation. Upon the course registration, I thought that it was going to make a great contribution towards the improvement of my work presentations, only to find that I was about to unleash the great facilitator within me and it also relates to my personal development. Five years into my job, 8-10 presentation yearly, I don’t remember asking my audience what are their expectations about the topic of the day. I have learned the importance of audience engagement; as much as I am the facilitator with an expert knowledge of the topic; I can draw some knowledge from the audience’s life experiences and from their general understanding of the topic.

  • 🔼”everybody put the tables aside; find some people with the same number like yours and those are your group members” These words confirmed the confussion of what was said by the lady who was asked to share her class experiences with us earlier on. One can wonder, whats next?</li>

Introduction – Week 01 (21 July 2018)

It is day one…..

I must say it was very chaotic… so many people in one class!! Mind you, some of us are waltzing in at 09:00 because we were told that the class starts at 09:00. ONLY to learn that the class had actually started at 08:00, now I am panicking because I am scared that I might have missed out on important information; just then I caught sight of few familiar faces from the other lecture and relaxed a bit as I maneuver my way to them…

To cut the story short, the Facilitator introduced herself – as Roslyn; I must say she made the chaos bearable, she wasn’t even fazed by it…she went on with her business;

She went along and instructed us to pick a number out of the bucket, at that stage we didn’t know the purpose of the exercise and later learnt that it was for the purpose of grouping us as well as allocating us to a specific Facilitation Group. Because the class was too big she further divided us into a morning and midday group, in the allocated group we were then given a topic that we are going to facilitate on, and dates of facilitation were given as well….

At this stage, I was trying my best to stay afloat but I was really anxious and confused because I thought that I am coming to class and a Lecture will stand in front of the class and Lecture however that wasn’t the case;

Nevertheless it was an interesting day, met new people,  very interesting; they are all there for various reasons ranging from “just need to acquire 12 points then graduate” to “I really don’t wanna be here  but need to bridge towards my qualification”…. whatever the reason, it is a new environment, new way of doing things and a path to my future so am looking forward to the next class;

Signing off…

Ms. Gugulethu,

 

 

Whaaat is this

The minute I walked into class for the first time my anxiety levels were way up.  I had known the class to start at 9am, to my horror I was 30 minutes late.  Needless to say I was so confused when I eventually sat down.  To my pleasant surprise the class was more than what I expected.  I had been put into a group with strangers about to attempt to facilitate the class on a very broad topic.  It’s going to be interesting I thought to myself.

 

I left the class feeling drained, questioning myself  about my abilities to see this course through. Am I ready? Will I contribute enough to the group? Are my ideas good enough? These were all question bombarding my mind but it’s a challenge I accept

Week 1: Introduction week #Blog 1

I have heard good reviews about this facilitation skills course, even though that was the case; the main reason I selected it was mainly for points. This also meant that my Saturday morning jogs vanish. I was okay with that as I am determined to finish my degree in 2018. I am a third year psychology student. Saturday, 21 July was our first lecture. Our call time was 08:30, when I arrived, had to grab a course pack and find a seat. I vividly remember thinking this is a big class. Then as I was sitting had to select a number and I pulled out number three. I had no idea what this number meant. Roslyn the facilitator asked one of the old students (Kate) to give us an over view of what to expect. Kate made it sound interesting. Once she was done exactly what she said happened. We had to move the chairs and tables aside and had to find those with the same number. Because the class was so big Roslyn decided to split the sessions into mornings and afternoons. I then selected the 8:00 clock session which means I still have my Saturday afternoons. Selecting 3 meant that I was in group 3, which translated to being the second group to facilitate the morning session. We sat together as group 3 and started introducing ourselves and getting to understand our facilitation topic which was Story telling. This left me very confused is a broad topic.  Where would one start? Overall the first day of this class was both confusing and interesting.  I must say it left me intrigued!

Facilitation Skills

I finally got onto the blogging site, thanks to Telfer.

Can’t believe it has already been 5 weeks,  I can clearly remember the day I was late for the first class as I turned back at the door with the intention to de-register Facilitation skills.  Thanks to Kelebogile who came after me and said I should give a it chance. Today I am glad I had that push and decided to stay.

I was lost of the rest of that first day but by the second week saw merit in being in the class. The second week there was the Social Media communication presentation, I learned how to giving positive says a lot about a person. And learned that we should strive to give critical (constructively positive) feed back rather than criticizing others. I have been applying this in my daily inter actions.

In short I am glad I stayed and enjoy the invaluable life lessons we are equipped with.

 

 

Introduction

On my first day I expected more of practical activities, but after an introduction I just felt that the whole journey of the course will be interesting.

I just learned that facilitation is totally different from presentation, as it will be more of engagement rather than teaching.

So, this will help me to differentiate on youth meetings that i participate on.

Facilitation helps me to see the world objectively, with no judgement to others.

I will definitely use the facilitation skills to see and embraces difference.

 

My first day of class – Facilitation Skills

My week one was confusing 🙁

I didn’t attend the first lecture as I was still deciding if I made the right choice by choosing the Facilitation skills course, so I missed the class.   On the second week I decided to go and see what this class is about.

First, I got lost, looking for the venue took longer than I anticipated.  As I was getting lost, walking up and down the little voice within was saying “this is a sign, you shouldn’t be taking this class” lol.  After walking up and down and asking people for directions to the venue, I found the class.  Guess what, I was late *embarrassing hey* .  I got inside the venue, everyone was sitting *awkward* – I didnt understand the set- up of theclass,  it looked so informal,  but I just grabbed the chair and sat.

As I sat down, I relaised that there was a group presenting.  They were presenting about Communication via social media platforms.  I started “warming up” as I was listening and relating to the topic.

Before the end of the class – I was allocated to a group, at that stage I felt at home 🙂

It was by the end of my first lecture, that I have learnt about check-in’s.  I noted the importance of the check-in’s which I have now introduced to my team at work..  I am happy, that I decided to attend!

 

Facilitation Skills – BLOG 1

I got to class at least 5 minutes late and knowing the person I am, I am always punctual, took it lightly that this lecture would start late from my past lecture which started an hour late, but little did I know that my Facilitation lecturer is actually punctual.

Arrived in class, signed a register and took a handbook while Roslyn the facilitation skills lecturer was busy writing on the board our calendar for the remaining of the course.

As the rest of the students started arriving, the class began to get bigger and bigger which eventually led to the class being very chaotic, I honestly felt like this course had no structure what so ever, as the day progressed Roslyn passed around a fish bowl demonstration which contained numbers, which we all had to choose a number from, similar numbers with the other classmates was the group that we would be teamed with to deliver our Facilitation piece.

My plus would definitely be the different people that I had met in that short chaotic, unstructured time, really enjoyed the different approach to this lecture. Super excited and looking forward to the next few weeks ☺

Abracadabra! An introduction to facilitation

Stepping out of your comfort zone is never an easy thing to do. It requires you to completely ignore the knee-jerk reactions your brain has developed and walk boldly into the unknown. It requires you to step completely out of the self and really immerse yourself in the present moment in order to make sense of things in the unfamiliarity of your new surroundings.  It requires a tremendous amount of bravery.

What is Facilitation?

Now, I won’t lie. It didn’t feel like a tremendously brave move deciding on an elective because the classes are on Saturday mornings and there are no exams. In fact, it felt incredibly easy, but isn’t that how magic works? There’s a trick I once saw where a  magician asks an audience member to pick a card and remove it from the deck. With their hands cupped over the card, concealing its face, the participant is certain that what they have picked, is what they’re holding on to. “It’s too easy”, they think, “it’s just not possible”,  until Abacadabra! The magician pulls out their card and what our unsuspecting candidate is left holding is something completely different.

Magic, as an art, is steeped in shroudery and mystique.  It is the art of misdirection which very few enthusiasts are able to master, let alone figure out, without an apprenticeship with a master magician to show them the tricks of the trade. That, for me, is what I have come to discover Facilitation Skills to be – an all access  backstage pass into the magic of outstanding leadership through collaboration.

Facilitation is the creation of experiential moments for everyone you encounter by using specific, simple tools and practices which fully engage and recognise individuality. It teaches you to ask questions without imposing, and to listen without judgement or the imposition of personal opinion on another. It teaches you to lead from behind and to be mindful and present in every situation by allowing moments to progress  organically because being in control doesn’t always mean being in charge – what the movement of mindfulness  calls letting go.

It is leading through learning and listening.

It is the art of impact.

However, as with all magic, what is simple is not necessarily easy.

It takes a long time for the dedicated yogi to master inner peace and reach nirvana, and similarly it takes a long time for one to step out of the programmed responses of how they’ve always done things and into a space which is open to collaboration, critique and self reflection. It is simple, but not easy, to set aside the ego and receive criticism without defensiveness and give feedback with kindness. Especially when you have been trained  by the world that admitting ignorance is a sign of weakness – the cognitive dissonance of keyboard warriors, for example, but that’s a topic for another day.

With conscious practice of the facilitation tools,  one can learn and master impactful leadership and enjoy thriving personal and professional relationships.

Poof! Just like that, one begins to see the hidden magic in facilitation skills.

Week 1

I walked into the class 10 minutes late, I was told to take a book and write down the calendar. I took a book and looked for a place to sit. I found the sit and there was a box that was doing the rounds and we were told to take a piece of paper that had numbers printed on. I looked around and realized that the class was too big and I immediately did not like the size of the class.

I was actually happy to learn that the class was going to be divided into two sessions, the first session was going to start at 08h00 to 12h00 and the second session was going to start at 12h30 to 16h30. I opted for 12h30 because I am not a morning person. I later learnt that the number that I took is for the group that I will be allocated to. I am happy with my group and the topic allocated to us. In the beginning there was confusion in the class but eventually I got to see where we were going. I have enjoyed the class as well as the chaos that came with it.

Week 1 – The beginning…

So it is day one, and a very interesting start indeed.  This was not quite what I had in mind… From signing up on a macbook that was travelling around the room, to moving around furniture and rearranging the classroom and then having to be placed in teams with strangers for group work (I’m sure you can tell how much fun this is going to be…).  I am quite an unstructured person who has learnt to become more structured through my job (that was not easy but of course if I needed my job and salary I was going to have to make a plan 🙂  But somehow this scared me a little, the strangers in my group, not knowing where this is going and what to expect.

Then we finally got a chance to meet the others in my group, and by now I felt settled and more relaxed, I had amazing people in my group, we clicked, and then i thought this was going to be all fine…. until we were combined with another LARGER group. Ok, so now I was worried ….  but the other group was friendly and welcoming and I was happy again. I left the class with an open mind, I know that learning comes from the most unexpected things and of course this is WITS, so this must be going somewhere.

I left with a slightly uneasy feeling, but knew that whatever happens, I will give this my best, and Roslyn clearly managed the very large class really well, I knew that I was going to learn alot from this lovely lady, and hopefully by the time I am done, I will be able to command a large audience like she does too 🙂

Until next week!

Nolan

Confused – 21/7/18

It’s the first day of class and I’m filled with some trepidation as I’m uncertain how I’m going to learn to facilitate in a lecture. All I know is that this is a skill I need.

I get to the building and I struggle to find the venue, I am fortunate enough to come across a good Samaritan who points me in the right direction. I walk into class and am immediately given a book and a number. When the class eventually starts there’s a lot of explaining by the lecturer after which I’m still unsure how I’m going to learn to facilitate.

The class get bigger and bigger as more and more people walk in. We are then thrown into chaos as we are allocated groups and guess what – the class will be split into two and we have to choose a time slot.  There is constant chattering that adds to the chaos as people make their way to their groups and choose their time slots.

I finally find my group – I hate groups – I hate syndicate work! When I finally settle down and start chatting to these strangers I decide they’re not bad, quite cool actually. I can see myself working well with them.

Group one has the misfortune of facilitating their topic next week! I’m relieved I’m not one of them. I feel sorry for them. How will they facilitate when we haven’t been taught a single thing? I don’t feel like I’ve learned anything today any way!

 

I have to do what ? Ugh !!! Week 1: Introduction 21/07

Saturday morning sitting on my bed, cuppa tea in my hand wondering why on earth I chose this course, 18 credits Nicola you can do this.

What a sh@#t attitude to start a new class with, i thought to myself as i dragged myself to my car. I arrived on time but the class is running late Uffff last thing i feel like doing on a Saturday morning….so much chaos…so much interaction, i felt defeated already……and then it happened … i was in the first group to present , i mean facilitate

WHY???? Must be the negative energy i gave off…. 🙁

But wait the sun came out ( Not literally of course all though i did still feel like i was asleep) I got put in one bleep of a GREAT team. Very strong group dynamic, a lot of ideas flowing YAY!!!! there was a rainbow. The bad attitude and anxiety left out the back door. This could work 🙂

My reflection : Not to go into something with a negative attitude as I will make my life harder. I have used this in my working environment and every day life since then.

Week one of facilitation class 21.07.2018

Day one of class
I went into class with anticipation and a bit of anxiety for the unknown. As I went in, I was told to take a book from the box and have a sit. Then was told to write down the calendar and later to introduce myself to the people sited next to me. The lecture introduced herself and explained about the course and purpose thereof. She went on to explain the task criteria which would be used to score our performance in the course. Immediately we were told to pick a number from the box and after a while we were told to push the desk and chairs against the wall. Because of the size of the class, we were then divided into two groups; that is the morning group 8:30 – 12:00 and the afternoon group 12:30 – 16:30. By this time my mind was all over the place, wondering what was going on.
We then formed groups from the numbers which we picked out from the paper bag. I think this was an innovative way of forming groups because it is random. I was happy to be in a group were I was unfamiliar with any of group members. After being allocated topics, we sat and shared ideas on our topic. I was completely lost and was not sure what was expected out of the task being given. I gave inputs while still lost and confused about the whole thing.
The day ended with my mind still puzzled because the setup and learning sphere was so different from the usual.

Bright-Eyed and Bushy-Tailed

Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, is a term usually used to describe one who is “alertly eager; full of energy and enthusiasm”  So, to put it in context one would say: “Girl, get a good night’s sleep so you’ll be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed in the morning.” Today I am the perfect picture of that phrase as I ready myself for my first lecture in Facilitation Skills.  I arrive to this lecture and immediately start thinking I must have missed something because to my surprise it appears that I am late. Not exactly the best first impression to be making. Nonetheless, I grab my notebook and head for a seat. More than a dozen of thoughts and emotions going through my head but the one that is most present is “anxiety”... I look up and suddenly feel overwhelmingly intimidated by the size of this class. I glance at my fellow students looking all smug like this is not their first rodeo.  They are so comfortable in their surroundings like they exactly where they meant to be.

Chaos ensues as our lecturer Roslyn Solomon splits us into smaller groups to discuss a group facilitation exercise which we are required to present to the rest of the class in the upcoming weeks. This was quite the ice breaker and allowed me to engage with my group and get to know some of my fellow students a little better. I soon realized that I actually hadn’t missed out on much except for the details of the course calendar and structure which was later relayed to me. Perhaps all was not doom and gloom after all. We were tasked to discuss our facilitation theme ” Freeing your Mind”…How fitting I thought to myself, and, it was in that very moment that I realized that in order for me to gain the best experience out of this program it was necessary for me to free my mind from any negative pre-conceived thoughts as this would only lead to self-sabotage.

So in closing my plus delta for today was that i didn’t like the chaos of being in such a large class and i those feelings of  intimidation and anxiousness about the road that lies ahead but what i loved, is that i was mentally able to free myself from that “noise” in my head and instead embrace this new journey. I still may not know every detail of what lies ahead but I am not alone in this journey and i still choose to remain “bright-eyed and bushy-tailed”.

As I reflect back on my first day

It was exactly 8:45am when I pulled into the parking thinking to myself that I still have another 15min to find my class. As I approached the building, seeing the security guide at the door, I asked for FNBGA room. Following the direction given to me, I walk down the stairs I approached the glass door I could see that the already class was very crowded, and had already started with the lesson, it gave me a shock of my life even nervous to go inside, heard the smooth voice by the facilitator as I open the door, telling me to please grab a book and a chair. The chair at the was right at the back of the room, and i struggled to hear Roslyn from there. I tried to catch information from my peer next to me, however she didn’t want to talk to me or to be disturbed. The next thing I hear where is something about bag with number. Meanwhile, we needed to move and pack the desk at the back of the room and get into our groups.

The noise level, and chaos all over the room was horrific, Sometime, one just has to adjust to certain changes in life. I was struggling to hear the instruction, and the noise kept going on and on, and hence Roslyn ended up saying that she could not take this anymore as we are a big group and would need to split into two groups (morning and afternoon groups). This still didn’t make any difference, as most of the students still preferred to attend class in the morning. I’m please to say that after all the chaos and noise, I met an awesome group of people, and we connect very well. We engage very with each other very well, and was a great to end the day.

Facilitation Introduction -Week 1

Its the turning of the first page that really grabbed my attention……how profound – “What if what unites us is more than we realise ……and what divides us is less than we fear”. My start to the facilitation course was filled with anxiety as I was going into the unknown….. and how unknown it was lol. No tables, chairs in a circle…. this is chaos I proclaimed to myself and to top it all off … we are probably gonna have to talk about feelings…

I had to remind myself of what my intention was for attending this course. This is it for me I thought….. I want to connect with people and use the opportunity of learning from other peoples experiences, share their thoughts …. suddenly I felt a certain level of anxiety because as much as I want to learn from other people… I am sure other people would want to hear my story too…… OMG I thought…”Am I ready to be vulnerable” . I quickly reminded myself that if I was to get the most out of this experience I will need to embrace the opportunity and give unconditionally .

Occasionally one comes across an idea or theory that changes one’s heart and mind…towards the end of the session, this is how I felt. It was clear for me that towards the end of this course I am due to experience a paradigm shift. We all have a worldview and sometimes pay so much attention to the doors that are closing behind us that we fail to see and experience the ones that are opening. What an Aha moment for me as I reflected on the day. I soon realised that my view of the world will determine my intent and consequently my attention ……. and that will manifest itself in all my relationships. “The power in everything we do lies in how authentic and believable we are ……… ” I said this out aloud to remind myself

Looking forward to this journey,

 

Aluta Continua………my journey has just begun!

 

All the best Peeps

 

 

Zubayer

 

 

Week 1 – First class.

I arrived in class at 8:30 am, received a textbook and got seated. The facilitator welcomed the class and explained what this course was about. I received a schedule for how this semester will go about. At some point a bag full of numbers was going around and I dogged for a number and the class was told to rearrange the tables. I was so confused, it was chaotic.

I then got into a group of 6 individuals who are all quiet lovely, different beings who seem to share common ground so I assume we will all get along well. The class sat in a large circle with a small one being in the middle to demonstrate how we should handle our tasks. My group and I formed a circle of our own discussing our assignment and reached an agreement. The lecture was concluded with a better understanding of the course and our assigned tasks .

My first day at facilitation skills lecture class, 21st July 2018 at Wits Plus.

My name is Wisani Hlangwane I have enrolled at Wits Plus 2018 second semester doing Facilitation skills every Saturday at 08:00 & Basic research skills every Tuesday at 17:30 until 20:00. I in 2019 I will be majoring in Psychology and HR in Management.

My very first day at facilitation skills class as I arrived at 08:30 A.m I was welcomed by Roslyn Solomon and advising that I should take my facilitation book and jot down the calendar dates for the rest of the year. Roslyn then introduced herself and her background. She too introduced the facilitation skills background , such as what facilitation vs presentation . There was a bag going around the class which had numbers and we had to choose and I got the number six. We then had to move the tables and desks to the back in order to group ourselves into the teams numbers that we chose. We then got into groups however it took time because it was very confusing and all over the show. However we go into the groups and we had to get to know each other with in our groups. We then had to discuss the topics given to us. We discussed the topic however we had to break down the topic because it was too broad. We managed to get a focal topic from the original topic we were given. There was another confusion caused because the calendar dates kept changing over and over but eventually it was sorted.

We were also informed about the 9 blogs that we would do each weekend after class. The class a huge number of students attending first day and some where absent , due to the large group we had to be divided into town groups the 8:00 session and 12:30 session. First day was overwhelmingly to be honest however Roslyn got me to be comfortable and looking forward to the second session due to the live demonstration each group would be participating.

The beginning of my Facilitation journey

Saturday, 21 July. The day I was introduced to Facilitation Skills, a module chosen for me by my HR Director.

I walked into what seemed like a basic class. Much like what has become accustomed to. I was greeted by the passionate Rosslyn Solomon, who literally smiled throughout her entire opening speech. Her upbeat spirit was so welcoming, I felt at ease right away. You could tell she’s passionate about what she does.

Moments later, we went from a classroom setting to a pushing tables and chairs out of the way. I was obviously startled by this as I was expecting a lecture. My confusion sparked an interest, a curiosity. Now I really wanted to know what class was about because for a moment I thought I had enrolled for an improvisation class.

I quite enjoyed the unorthodox method of learning. I am eager to see what more it has to offer. The next few months in this class ought to be very interesting…

-Wandile Mashiloane

 

 

Week 1

I missed week 1’s Saturday morning class due to the fact that I was not informed timeously about the addition of the afternoon Saturday class 🙁

As I am a ‘person of completion’ and one whom likes doing tasks in somewhat of a systematic order and fashioned way (from the onset),  I felt somewhat disappointed, let down and a bit heartbroken, as that meant that I would have had to wait yet another year to take up this course again.

Alas! after I had my little moan about the situation, I decided to turn the situation around and take out positive aspects. So I thought but more so fathomed that…

  1. People make mistakes! Whether it is intentional or not, thats entirely THEIR decision and out of my control.
  2. I am however in control of  – who I am, what I am, where I am and what I want to achieve by doing this course and/or anything in my life and for my life
  3. I had another opportunity to re-enrol again (after already de-registering) and for this I was thankful! So I took the bull by the horns and…HERE I AM!

How did I get here?

A REFRESHING START to the morning with the lecturer welcoming us at the entrance to the FNB building at Wits University to ensure we were pointed in the right direction.

Settling down in class, familiarising myself with the calendar and outline of the course, while also introducing myself to my neighbours (a student on my left and one behind me). The student behind me has registered for the same major I intend to choose, and I might just have been instrumental in persuading her to rather start with her major in the beginning of the new year instead of midway. While the current module is not dependent on a prerequisite, the lecturer often refers to work covered in the previous semester, which leaves a newcomer somewhat displaced.

An immediate AHA for me was the fact that our lecturer belongs to be the National Mentorship Movement, for which we were encouraged to sign up.

I had to guard against feeling a sense of let-down when we were told she refuses to babysit us, to be disappointed by us, as the success of the course depends on what we put in. I battled to link the two images: ‘I am a mentor’ vs ‘you are on your own’. I guess what she meant is that we are adults and that we need to take responsibility for our actions.

The rest of the morning, though somewhat chaotic, turned out okay, and I do believe we are well on our way to what promises to be an exciting journey of 14 weeks.

What will victory be for you?

To pass the course with distinction, but also to sharpen – as Stephen Covey said – the axe.

What excites you about this programme?

The fact that our lecturer is knowledgeable about the subject matter and that our team seem to be hungry to grow into becoming (better) facilitators.

What frightens you about the programme?

I am not so much frightened by the programme as I am about the busy-ness of life that could get in the way. Also traveling in an out of Pretoria to Braamfontein for class is also daunting.

What questions do you still need to answer?

What makes a great facilitator? I do realise – as Myles Munroe had said – that knowledge is what you know, and what you know is not all there is to know. I look forward to learn more about reading people and scenarios and to bring out the best in myself as I work towards – not only learning about facilitating, but also about coaching others.

1st day 21 July.

Wow, Speechless, shocked, confused and frustrated.  What am I possibly doing here?
Am told that this class is none like other, my mind couldn’t comprehend.  Trying to find the balance and seeing where I could possibly belong.
Being broken down into groups was some sort of relief, the smaller groupings are easier to interact, but I’m still confused what the class is all about.
Presentation and facilitation are not one and the same, as a small Fishbowl exercise was conducted. Trying to take as much pointers as possible and deciding on a topic our group will be presenting, one waits to see what more the class has to bring.

Meeting the group was exciting, specially discovering that its all woman, we had common ground. Some light.

Meeting up to chose a topic, now that was interesting.  We have weeks to go before the presentation. Pressure.

Nervous, will we have enough time to prepare, will we know what to do?.

Delta, the numbers and confusion, Plus having the option to chose which class to attend. Morning or noon.

Ntombi

 

Week 1- Blog 1: “Introduction “First day  at facilitation skills class”.

Week 1- Blog 1: “Introduction “First day  at facilitation skills class”.

Was like a first day in grade one at a public school. Fortunately the lecturer, Madam Solomon was outside looking for lost students and we were two looking forward to discover what will this facilitation skills will look like. Madam Solomon was handing out the books and giving us verbal directions to where the class was. Because we had expectations and went to the wrong class ,kept looking for the correct class  thank God someone showed us the class.

Ouhf !!! I wondered how is this class all about so many students  enrolled for this class , this must be very interesting. After few minutes, there is madam Solomon stepping in class greeted us and just gave us a laptop and said : “everyone must write his/her details on the excel spread sheet”, yet no one knew what the course was all about. Then new instructions was given:”kindly introduce yourself to the four people around you and pick up a number in a box” I picked no 11 , then wait for the next instruction from the lecturer. Boom !! New instruction:” every one must remove his/her desk and find out who else has the same number as his/hers then a bit of chaos in class … there were few screams in class, who has no X? number y? number b…number 11? after a moment  there are few strangers around me who happen to be my partners for the next long period that the course will take for this semester.

New instruction had landed, introduce yourself to your team members and look at the chalk board where you identify your number and the topic that you must prepare for presentation on the date shown. Yooooh thank God ,we are going to present in September  but our topic is so complex :”Building shared understanding”. Wow … things started lighting up, she stood and introduce herself and gave us the outline and what the course entails now that we started feeling comfortable. The class was too big with many students, she had decided to divide the class into two sessions, the morning and the afternoon and i found myself in a morning session and  i am glad to be in with the strong members of our facilitating group and immediately we put strategies in place to kick the preparations for facilitating in September.

I had learnt that facilitation is different with presentation after she explained, all the differences between the two concepts and that this is the only time i have realized that i am in a correct class for my political future orientation.This facilitation skills is really required for the course that i am going to major in Politics and International Relations. This was my best experience of that day, since i understood the importance of this course i am looking forward every week , not  to miss class as it is inspiring especially when others are presenting.

Thank You.

My first Facilitation Skills Class 21/07/2018

I arrived well on time for the class. The facilitator Rose was giving us course books as we came in and asked us to copy the Calender which was on the board, so that we have an outline of the course, for the next 14 weeks, which is the entire semester. After that it was time for introductions of ourselves to the people sitting next to us. We were then divided into groups of 7 or 8, and given a group topic we will work on, as a group and facilitate its presentation in class. We were also split into 2 groups, for attendance’s sake, because we are such a huge group. l belong to morning class which comes in, at 08h00, on Saturdays. I met my group members on this day as well, we tried to brainstorm the topic and allocated a portion to each of us. Overall, the day was well spent, it was overwhelming in terms of the the number of students,but, i got to learn that the class would mostly be a facilitated one, they won’t be lecturing, active participation is encouraged.

My First Facilitation Skills Class

Today was my first Facilitation Skills class! When I arrived in class at 8:20, I grabbed a book and took the first seat I saw. While waiting for the rest of the class to arrive, I started reading through the workbook and was excited about the content of the course.

After everyone arrived in class (some a little later than others due to some confusion with the timetable) Roslyn introduced herself and told us a bit more detail on what to expect from the course. I was surprised to hear that the class is going to be very interactive and even sometimes requires working in groups.

Roslyn asked that we introduce ourselves to those around us. I met Nomonde and we got so Carrie away talking that we did not even introduce ourselves to others in the class.

After the introductions, Roslyn gave us each a number and we were split into 8 groups. We were given a topic and were told to discuss it and prepare to facilitate a class. My teammates and I were all very nervous and got straight into discussing various options for our facilitation.

Roslyn asked us what we want to achieve by the end of this class and I thought to myself, a little more confidence when doing public speaking and being more outspoken would be great. I am a very quiet, introverted person and could do with a confidence boost. I am excited about the fact that this course encourages group work and is not the same as other courses offered at Wits. At the same time, the fact that we will need to facilitate a class frightens me very much! I still have a few questions regarding the exact details of my team’s facilitation but we agreed to meet after class and discuss the finer details.

 

My 1st day

honestly I felt confused and had thoughts like what am I doing here. confusion is all that I saw however as the day progressed it became more enjoyable and Roslyn(Pardon me if I’ve butchered your name) has a very infectious personality and just makes you want join in and have some.

it felt more like therapy at times and I feel it has opened me up even more

Week 1: I didn’t know what hit me!

Being an introvert means I’m always super anxious when I have to start something new, in a new place, with complete strangers….so my heart was in my throat from the night before class.  I did everything in my power to keep myself from just de-registering because the word “Facilitation” to me just meant presenting. And to make it worse I’m not a morning person so that’s a whole other adjustment.

I walked in through the main doors of the FNB building, Ross was walked towards me, handed me a book and directed me to the class but I didn’t hear anything after “down the stairs” because I was on the phone, but I found the class.

The number of faces that I walked into made my heart jump and go YHO! In true introvert style, I found a spot where I’d be invisible. I copied the calendar from the board and picked a number.  This is the part where I freaked out: Picking numbers means GROUPS? OH NOOO!!! Then chaos ensued. Desks & chairs being moved, the noise, people trying to find their groups. Guys, me + chaos = not same whatsapp group. I run from chaos. I don’t engage. Chaos is the enemy. My OCD just said “Toolz NO, I can’t”.  Where did structure go? Cue internal scream!!!

We’re in groups now. So I met new people. As if I had a choice. I was so tense, but trying not to show it.

At least I came out of it alive.  My legs were shaking on my way home. “Is this really me for the next 4 months?” I didn’t know what hit me! Now I had a reason to dread weekends too 🙁

 

Unusual Facilitation

The first class was very interesting and eye-opening. My initial thoughts about the Facilitation Skills course were in few minutes of the class starting challenged. All that I have been exposed to at Wits in my 3 years in terms of the format of lecturing was changed. What I had pictured and expected turned out not to be, the Lecturer was relaxed and the style of lecturing is also informal. I enjoyed the relaxed approach although I initially thought I would not since I am structured person. I also appreciate the Lecturer being pragmatic and separating the big group into two classes, it worked well for the class and also for me since I am not a morning person.

I am still trying to find my feet in the class as well as get used to working in a group. My group members seem very interesting and show eagerness to learn. I am looking forward to improving my people’s skills especially since there will be a lot of interaction and group exercises. The skills learned in this module will benefit me greatly at work.

I am looking forward to more weeks of fun and learning in this unusual class.

First Day of Facilitation Blog1

Hi There

It was a very exciting day for me as I was starting a course that I have been looking forward to :-).

I arrived there 5 min early and I didn’t struggle to find the venue as I went there a few days before to familiarize myself with the place. To my surprise, the class had already started 30 min before (there was miscommunication), but that did not throw me out as the facilitator Roslyn was very welcoming.

The class was overwhelmingly full, however there was order. The session went well as it was the introduction and Roslyn was paving a way forward.

The “not so good things” about the day are:

  • Time miscommunication from the University
  • There were more people than anticipated (Roslyn was not made aware of how many people she should expect / have registered)
  • The venue was small for the number of people.

The very good things about the day are:

  • Roslyn had study material ready for us,
  • Roslyn facilitated the class quite well regardless of the number (She took charge of the class).
  • She grouped us and divided the class in to two classes
  • She was calm and she gave us the confidence that she knew what to do in that situation.
  • She smiled through it all.

Victory:

Victory for me will be to complete my PHD in Psychology, and the facilitation course is exactly what I need to prepare myself to start the journey.

Programme:

What excites me about the programme is the actual content of the programme and that it is going to help me take charge of myself and anything that comes my way.

What frightens me about the programme is that I might need to let go of certain behaviors (wanting to control everything).

After the first day, I was hungry for more and I am looking forward to tackle any situation that comes my way.

 

5 Things I learned about the course on the very first day :)

I arrived 15 minutes late to the very first facilitation skills class and the most important advice I would give anyone attending class on a Saturday morning is to treat a Friday night like a week night (or rather a school night)! It started out like any other normal class, fill in your details, a little introduction, this is what to expect, the works. However, quickly into it we realized this is quite different to any classes we’ve had in the past. There were a few subtle surprises, but I like surprises (doesn’t every girl)!

Earlier in the morning we had to select a number out of a little basket, everyone with the same number ended up in the same group, which meant we couldn’t choose our groupmates, you couldn’t scout for the prettiest or smartest looking person in the room. Hahahahah! You got what was served.

The first class actually had me really excited about the course and here are 5 things I learned:

  1. Going out on a Friday night when you have class on a Saturday morning is not a good idea.

I learned that it’s paramount to take a Saturday morning class very seriously. It isn’t an easier class because it’s on a weekend. It needs your concentration as much as a week day class and the course certainly needs you to be more alert than ever as you work closely with other people.

2. There’s NO EXAM (WHOOP WHOOP! BUT WAIT…)

I’m a civil engineering graduate and during undergrad, all the courses that had no exam sitting, were actually incredibly hard. There was more work to be done, the lecturers were highly critical of every piece of work handed in and we quickly learned how much easier it was to fail. Nonetheless, I’m still startlingly happy there’s no exam! And hope to use that little previous experience to pass the course.

3. THIS CLASS IS AN INCLUSIVE ENVIRONMENT

Everything about the class was about inclusiveness rather than exclusiveness. The setup of the room which included small groups and we also had one large circular setup which meant we continuously interacted with people instead of sitting at our own tables; one with your own thoughts.

4. WE’RE SCARED OF THE UNFAMILIAR

The first facilitation class felt like being in an art class, I’ve never been an art class, but I can imagine how strange and intimidating it would feel because it’s very foreign to me. Also, it felt like it was an art class because I felt creative ways of learning were used.. A fear of the unfamiliar is common in all of us, and can apply to everything including different cultures, peoples, new spaces and places as well as new activities.  Most of the time, all it takes to change that is actually opening up your mind to experiencing new things or dealing with that thing you fear.

5. YOU’RE NOT AS INTERESTING AS YOU THINK YOU ARE

It was awesome to sit in a group with fellow students who had relatives who were really important people in society, who were proud university drop outs because they pursued other amazing interests at the time, classmates who refused to take traditional paths to define their lives. Sitting in a class with people who were rebels in their own way made me want to live my life more fearlessly, it reminded me that everyone had the potential to become a better individual. This class reminded me that I could do IT.

 

I look forward to more experiences and lessons learned, I look forward to sharing this journey with you. And ultimately may we all have fun!!!

The journey starts

I arrived at Wits at 08:13 today for my first Facilitation class in room FNBGA… as a returning student I thought that I would be able to find the class easily… surprise, surprise.  I’m lost.  And my anxiety begins before I even enter the class.  Horah! I overhear a conversation and end up following the flock to the basement where I am seated by exactly 08:30.  What a relief!  Looks to be a small class.  My anxiety starts to dissipate.   Hmmm…me and my assumptions.  By 09:00 AM, I realize how wrong I am.  The class is nearly 200 strong and had to be divided into 2 groups.

Sitting down to the first instruction, calendar, page 7.  I open page 7, its a blank page…. staring around confused, a kind soul explains, its page 8, copy down the calendar from the board.

When we eventually settle, Roslyn begins to explain the course content, exam expectations.  Oh no! I’m definitely going to have to arrest my anxiety for this course!  We are required to do a practical application on facilitation in the form of a facilitation piece.  Time to be a big girl.

12:19, glad that this morning is over.  I need to recover…..

the unusual class

Hmmm you know as I was still trying to find my class, I meet up with Roslyn giving out work books and directing us to the venue… I thought to myself what an unusual thing to do.

Inside the classroom I realized that wow again we had to move desks and chairs, and we were too many and i started saying “ngizoke ngizwe” (let me sit and wait to see what going on.) this was confusing not knowing what happening, however by the end of the day it was starting to be less stressful because I already knew that i was going to be in the 12:30 group,

I still was very scared about the presentations because we haven’t learned anything yet and already they were started next week to present….

But I really enjoyed meeting new people and my group members were very interesting people, I got opened up to learning new things by the end of the day.

First Facilitation class

Hello Everyone,

Wow, I’m sure I’m not the only one who thought “What a packed class”. I walked in, was supplied a booklet, took a seat and started listening to a slightly animated lecturer who oozed calmness and I immediately picked up that she has a sense of humour too, so I thought to myself I am in the right place. I did not have expectations about how we will be taught facilitation as over the years when I get sent to some training of some sorts at work, each facilitator brings through their unique way of facilitating, getting across some message and teaching a bit.

For someone who generally runs meetings, I was a bit tongue tied when Roslyn our lecturer asked us to turn to the people on our sides and tell them about ourselves.I eventually told my first neighbour Kosta about myself. I then listened to his story and immediately we had a shared interest, we both love travelling. I think we just clicked. The lady on my left  told me about her family, job and interests, oh I feel really bad now because I don’t remember her name but I do remember her face.

We were then asked to pick a number and once everyone had a done so , all the people with a particular number had to gather and surprise that was your group. As luck would have it Kosta was also in my group and we were group no 2 which meant we will be the first to present. The best part was fate just brought together super dedicated, passionate, creative team of people who will start preparing facilitating the topic: Communicating via social media.

the Awesome 6 were:
1. Olga
2. Kosta
3. Hermina
4.Mpho
5.Nicola
6. Wakhile

Glad to have met Team Awesome !!!

Regards

Wakhile Sithole

An Introverts Introduction to Facilitation Skills

As a third year student I chose Facilitation Skills for three reasons: A) I need the credits; B) it is the only subject that didn’t clash and C) No exam (whooo hooo!). I thought it would be the easiest 18 credits I’d obtain and I wasn’t sure I would benefit much from the course… or so I thought *que dramatic music*

The morning of the first lecture, I walked into a classroom that was so quiet and tense it was reminiscent of many an exam hall. Little did I know that this was the calm before the storm. Soon chaos ensured, tables were pushed to the back of the class and we were split to groups, every introvert’s nightmare – yikes!

Fast forward an hour in and we were split into a morning and afternoon class (less chaos, yay!) received some clarity on the group facilitation exercises, what to expect from the course and had a fish bowl demonstration.

That first class was rather chaotic in the beginning but by the end of it I had met a few new people, been pushed out of my comfort zone and then it struck me: this would course was going to be the most interesting and rewarding yet!

#AsToldByTiff

 

First day feedback

Action Learning Blog
Feedback on my first day
Engagement
It was my first day to attend the Facilitation Skills class. I was prepared and looking forward to start,
to my surprise the class was fully packed. I had to sit almost at the back. In any class I prefer to sit in
front row because of my eye sight problems. This actually made me to panic a little bit, how is this
lecturer going to handle such a big class. The worse part I had to sit in the back.
Coming through we were advised to collect a book and a number and have a sit. We sat listening to
Roslyn explaining to us how the calendar is going to work. Most of them were late and distracting us
in class.
Reflection
I am not sure how this course is going to be relevant to me because I was advised to do it before I can
register for General BA degree. Anyway it might be relevant to the work I am currently doing as I am
a conveyancing paralegal. I deal with clients daily and this will assist me how to handle them.
Teamwork with my co-workers will also assist.
The course also added value because now I understand a little bit about facilitation because I thought
is the same thing as presentation.
Ideation
The course has change me, I must now learn how to ask questions and give ideas as well. Teamwork,
be more involved in whatever a team or group has to do. We are even free to ask any kind of questions
as well.
Experimentation
I have notice that one cannot facilitate alone without forming a group. In our class we were advised
to clear the floor by putting desks and chairs aside. We created groups as per the numbers we picked
when coming in. Whatsapp group was created for communication purposes. Everything is about
putting information together. Forms with group details were completed. We also had a register on
Roslyn’s laptop.
We had a break. After the break our group 2 was used as an example on how to facilitate. We were
promised 10% marks upfront. We had a group discussion about our topic “Communication via social
media”. As a group we arranged everything on how to facilitate this topic to our classmates.
At the end of the class I had fun and I was relieved.

My First day

My first experience in class was very confusing, because when I got to class at exactly 8:30 people were already writing I even thought it was some sort of test. Then there was a paper bag going around the class for each person to grab a number. After everyone has grabbed a number we were told to move our desks and chairs to the sides and because of the number of people that were in class our facilitator Roslyn decided to divide into 2 groups, the morning class and the afternoon class.

Well, I joined the morning class and after we had divided into the 2 groups we had to find people with the same number we picked, we were then formed into groups using those numbers and given topics for our facilitation piece. My group number was 5 and I got to meet and interact with my fellow group mates.

My group and I brainstormed about our topic and decided on a theme the very same day.

Lessons

It became clear at the first class that this is outside of my comfort zone by a mile.  Anything that requires me to engage explicitly with others on a public platform sends me into a state of anxiety.   The expectation was to attend class, have a lecture that is structured in a formal manner, be given a task or assignment to complete at a given time, then submit that and be done with Facilitation Skills.  That became quite clear as I walked in a late, and found the entire class on their feet being organised into groups.

At that point I definitely felt uneasy as being organised into groups historically only meant there would be a presentation to follow or some type of interaction with other students.  Needless to say I was placed in a group and had to start a conversation with each member; well because complete silence would’ve caused me more anxiety.

Now that, that was out of the way I moved my attention to the lecturer and thank heavens, was she not just a delight.  An easy, relaxed, confident approach made me feel much less worried about whether I would make it through the semester in a stable mental state (jokes).

There is definitely more work I need to do on myself when being placed on a public platform, but dealing with a difficult lecturer wont’ be part of my challenges which makes learning so much more fluid, yes that’s how to describe her, she’s a fluid lecturer.  I am still struggling to come to terms with being away from my house on a Saturday, but I am pursuing this degree so, just like the past 3.5years this is one more sacrifice to make towards the prestigious degree from Wits.

my first day

My first day was the second week of class which  means  i missed the first class in my mind  i am thinking am already behind, to make matters worse i am 30 minutes late , i do not have a reading pack and i have no idea whats  going on or what the class is about so i am completely in the dark.i get to class thinking that class has already started ,to my surprise people were moving around and chatting i realized that this is not a normal classroom setting so i was intrigued . i pull up chair and sit by the door i study the room and the personalities in the room.

A lady raises her hand the rest of the class does the same and it quiets down  i raise a “brow”  and am like interesting.i learn that the lady’s name  is Ros and she is the facilitator for the class ,she tells the class to sit in groups of eight then she starts talking about  check ins .if you ask me that was the first time hearing such a word so i am like OK she explained what it was and told us to sit in groups of eight and gave us  30 minutes to  do check ins in our group.

 During the check in we got to connect with each other on a deeper and more  personal level.at the end of the session i could see that life long friendships have been formed . long story short the class was interesting and the  words to describe my first day are  life changing and phenomenal am looking forward to the next session cant wait….

 

Week one

Initially I had my perceptions on a Saturday class that starts at 08:30 in the morning, I thought this was not going to work for me, moreover when I got there we were so many in that class and there was a gift bag with something inside that everyone walking in had to take only to find out it was numbers. The lecture had to come up with a way of dividing the group into 2 classes morning and afternoon classes which again I didn’t think it would be favourable for me. O my God I was so exhausted when we had our tea break in my mind I wanted to leave so bad but again I told myself that I will do this face my fears of being in a public set up not on my comfort zone a peaceful space one has to adapt so I can grow to my full potential I really had to convince myself no one else could do this for me but myself. After break we had to decide on how to separate the two groups others choose to attend a morning class from 08:00 to 12:30 or afternoon class from 13:00 to 16:30 again I was faced with another dilemma if I choose the morning class once I’m late I’m locked out till after 1st facilitation.

Facilitation technique – the “balcony” perspective

One of the aims for me is to grow and gain new skills. The facilitator talked about the facilitation technique, the “balcony” perspective, that we must be able to notice patterns and learn from others and over time I want be able to notice, integrate all the different parts of my experience, how to interact and influence others, and be able to make decisions based on a broad look at my situation. As a leader that seeks to enhance my ability to make an impact to the people I train, present to, engage with in many platforms. I need to continually be shifting my focus, over time, from the floor to the balcony and back again.

I love this concept and our lecture explained it also very well in class.

Don’t think you Mrs KNOW it ALL….we learn everyday :-)

Day One

Unlearn to lean

Don’t think you Mrs KNOW it ALL….we learn everyday

Day one went very well, better than I anticipated. Going to class with the attitude that I do facilitation and training almost every day as part of my job and I am doing the course just for credits. Crazy attitude I had day one thinking and saying to myself that I will do very well with this course because I have great experience and I have received good feedback about my facilitation skills, I am a speaker and speaking in front of people is not an issue for me. Bu all that changed when I was going through my handbook and what the lecture shared in class of what to expect for the course, then my mind-set changed completely. Followed by a small voice inside of me that said unlearn to learn! You are still learning, you are not Mrs know it all. All of a sudden I became more curious, interested to learn more and looking forward to the coming weeks.

Happy to be part of this class and looking forward to the new journey.

looking back block 4

i somehow feel the need to go back and blog about the first week of my facilitation class. it has been a long and fairly painful journey for the past 2 blocks and i am proud that i have pulled through and i have to say its not by the skin of my teeth.

i feel confident that as soldier on i realise that it is my reaction to things that mostly i need to deal with but most importantly to acknowledge that people are not so nice and i need to avoid being in a negative space. we are only afforded 1 life and it would be very selfish and unforgiving to yourself not to embrace and live it. this year has been a very interesting journey

entering the world of facilitation

unsure of what facilitation was about i was eager yet nervous to get into the class room. it was a different experience to the conventional lecture as there was more involvement from each individual taking part. the start of the class was  confusing as i didnt actually know what the word facilitation meant. i then found a definition in our books that completely opened my mind and gave me a new understanding of the course. it is a person centered process that builds connectivity, trust and a sense of inclusion. the facilitators role is to create and environment that enables everyone to think an their best, respect each others point of view, participate fully and share the responsibility for achieving meaningful results.

with the new understanding i was eager to learn what was on offer and use it in my every day life.

Mindful Facilitation

Mindful Facilitation was an interesting discussion where everyone spoke about what they understood it meant and interesting definitions came through. My Aha! moment was realising that I had been through a mindful facilitation at work whereby the presentation left me feeling good with how the presentation was delivered. I found the engagement to be fulfilling and could align with why and what was expect of us and the ability to find ways of presenting the issue at hand in such a way that it paid attention to all the different cultural background. Examples used were ones whereby people in the meeting could resonate with and when we left we were looking forward to the feedback of the meeting and weeks later even asking when it will be scheduled.

My First Day

Oh what a day to start my class. I am not a winter person nor a morning person and worse could not imagine myself waking up every Saturday morning then I thought to myself, would I really cope?

It is that Saturday morning I was not looking forward to. I caught a glimpse of my kids who had woken up early enough to witness this first amusing day for mommy “going to school”, their words. Fascinated at me carrying a school bag, they reminded me the coffee which I almost left behind.

Oh, I am not alone, looking for the Facilitation Skills class, directed by well placed signs until we reach the door. I arrive 5min late, while still trying to adjust and get a gist of what was happening.Our facilitator told us to move all the tables at the back then my coffee spilt that was a break through for me and ice breaker too! I started interacting with other fellow students who had offered their assistance.

It was still chaotic for me and I was confused of what was happening but following and participating along.

Hey, I am number three, should I be thrilled that I am not in the first group or last one? I felt a bit numb but I came to realise that was it, one step at a time.

Towards the end I thought this is going to be an interesting class for me probably the one I needed most to cope with the rest of my course. This is the time to step out of my comfort zone!!!

Day 1

I had wanted to do facilitation skills from last year but could not do it because when i went to register i was told the class was already full. So i had to wait patiently to be in this class. A friend who managed to do the course before me had told me that it is mainly about group work and all the excitement about the subject went flying out through the window. I was taken aback because i know how much i struggle to work with other people in a group. This was going to be a test of my will.  My first day in facilitation class was on the second lecture and it seemed like i was drowning in all that was happening in class trying to catch up…..

Day 1 – Oh my goodness!

My first day at the Facilitation Skills class – oh my goodness!

It turned out to be a day full of surprises.
On entering the FNB building, I wasn’t quite sure where to go. Ros and her colleague were busy in the foyer, and I just assumed that I needed to follow these ladies. I had not even taken note of the signage that they were placing on the floor, to direct you to the class! This goes to show how unobservant I was on the day – in my own world.
Arriving at the class, I thought it odd when the chairs & tables were arranged in a classroom format – I thought this was strange for a facilitation course. But anyway – I tried not to over think it.
As the introductions progressed and the day unfolded – I felt that I was in a fog. I didn’t quite get it….Bewilderment, uncertainty, what is this all about?
Would I be back for the next class? Eish, I wasn’t so sure, hey.
What did I enjoy about Day 1?
I was in my element with the meet ‘n greet opportunities. At that stage of the semester, I had not experienced the same level of social engagement from my other academic classes, as compared to the delegates of the Facilitation class. Maybe it’s a combination of a Saturday vibe, plus the course content, which makes this class experience different to Politics, IR, English, Psych, Sociology, etc.
As the day continued, I was experiencing flash backs around certain behavioural traits about myself which somehow, over time, had become suppressed, buried and silenced, within me. These were traits that had previously energised me and made me feel spirited and excited about things. I was in a room full of people. And I loved it.
The format of the class was challenging me to drop my guard/stop being so overly prepared, to listen more and overall to savour and recognise the awkwardness of feeling uncomfortable and somewhat exposed, and to be prepared & gracious enough to receive feedback from others.

I just might make it back for the next class.

Babalaas, AA Meeting & Group Therapy Circle

Babalaas, AA Meeting & Group Therapy Circle

 

Bless me Father for I have neglected my studies. It’s been 7 years since my last recognized higher education… ohh wrong place… this is about Facilitation studies

 

Dear Diary… Still not the correct format??? Anyway, let me BLOG!!!

 

The first day I was babalass from the Paul Hanmer 20 year celebration of Trains To Taung which took place at The Orbit in Braamfontein. I got home at 3 am and had to wake up at 7 am to come to class, needless to say, I was late. I was still drunk; I was still mesmerized by the piano melodies as they echoed in my ears and burping the alcoholic beverages from the previous night ensured I stayed in that zone for longer than expected. Bizarrely Paul has a song titled “conscienceless-ness”, could he have been in my current state when he came up with this title?

 

THE COURSE THAT MEANT NOTHING, EXCEPT FOR THE CREDIT POINTS IT WAS GOING TO ADD

To be honest when this semester started, all I wanted was credit points.  The last thing I wanted was a course that was going to take a lot of my time and energy, I wanted an effortless way to get 2017 over and done with as painless as possible. I went to the Wits Plus Admin Office and spoke to one of the consultants and they advised me to register for Facilitation course. I remember their exact words: “Go for it, it’s a walk in the park and you are not going to write an exam. All you need to do is show up every Saturday morning.” The joy in that was in my heart when I heard that I am going to be getting credit points just like that without working for them is unexplainable. I was so excited and couldn’t wait to get it over and done with.

On my first day, I really did not have expectations, I went to class with the “Whatever” attitude. All I wanted was adding credit points without working hard, right? Well, I had a surprise waiting for me, the class was not passive but one that that promised to be very active.

When I arrived, students were busy moving chairs and I was really confused. When we sat in a circle, in my head I had 1001 questions about what was going on and if we were going to be playing games. I was expecting a “normal” class setup of chair behind desk, not the facing everyone type of setup that didn’t allow one to hide behind fellow class mates.

One of the first things we were introduced to was the Check-In, where for me, I started paying attention because that was the effectiveness of the workshop where we could share our thoughts right at that moment and deal with them before getting deep into the workshop to prevent confusion. Check-in helps because during facilitation when you speak for the 2nd, 3rd or 4th time, you would have been speaking with a clear mind and sharing your thoughts or experience with people whom you already feel you know and are comfortable around. During that process, while people shared their thoughts, I found myself, my thoughts in them. It was amazing how similar some of us were.  The phobia for public speaking and the reason we were there to start with.

During and after class, I began to understand why I had to attend, the Universe knew I needed this course and I had a light bulb moment, realizing that WOW, I am at the right place. This is where I needed to be as part of my journey of becoming a future leader.  

After the break, we had a ruffle kind of exercise where each of us chose a number and those that ended up choosing the same number, were put in the same group. My number was 9 and all groups were assigned a group facilitation assignment. All my life I hated working in groups, but this was different. I learnt that the facilitation course was about learning the art of support, the real meaning of team work. TEAM BUILDING! The “I AM BECAUSE WE ARE”… That is if the phrase even exists. *giggles*

The class/workshop was amazing in a very amazing way. *I know, you are asking yourself what that means* *giggles* I left there with some light of why I was there and why I needed to be part of this course. I left with a clear understanding that facilitation is not a lecture. I learnt that not all learning has to be structured for me to learn anything. I think that the credit points that I was initially looking for from this course, the credit points that I wanted, are not only going to be a number in my transcript, but a valuable credit that I will value and use in my journey even long after I have qualified.

I still need to fully understand what exactly is Facilitation? How do I make sure I do not confuse facilitation and a presentation? In the next few days, I am going to practice using the check-in technique in my daily engagements with my colleagues and other students in other classes.

I have checked in, and for now… I am Out!

A different start – Week 1

I title this a different start as my first facilitation lecture was like no other lecture I have attended at Wits. My first thought was why do we not have desks in front of us and why is there so much of noise with everyone talking at the same time. I also thought, is this really what I signed up for and is this what my Saturday’s will consist of? The lecture for me was very unstructured which did not gel well with me as I find myself to be structured.

It is now the fourth week and I am writing weeks one blog now as I felt if I had written my blog in the first week I would have bashed the course without gaining sufficient knowledge.

I understand that the whole point of the facilitation course is to allow for interaction with the assistance of the facilitator. It allows for participation of many students with opinions and respecting them.

It is an environment that is different for me but I look forward to the learning experience.

At long last……Facilitation skills in 3!!!!!….

Oh oh facilitation skills what is it though? I read the cover page of the Course pack and it interests me to know that it can be related to my everyday life a work and also on a social meetings. But dah!!! There is more to it than what I preferred of it in the first place…the idea was to score point lol. Facilitation is not just standing in front of people with a paper or laptop or projector and start telling people of what you have experts on…..
First day in class all seems to be confusing but there comes the most amazing scenario a course with three lectures, how cool is that? Oh i thought they were also students but their knowledge was beyond my expectations about the course but only to learn later that they are on the lecture panel. Then i went home wondering if i was at the right class or not.
Week two come and pass because i couldn’t attend the class due to family commitment but my mind never stopped from asking what a facilitation skill up until week three started is.
There we are in week three and they speaking about change and people became emotional about the subject but at least am catching up to understand my first day question about the course I took myself in to. I am an introvert and am wondering still that how will it be of help from this course if am with people who can speak and laugh without thinking much. As I am still wondering about that. Ros asked which type of brainer are we? There i am left brainer haha haha and it is said you are a logical thinker and too conscious to say…………….
That got me thinking again about my partner. Oh thanks God now i know myself so i might have to be careful when am dealing with other people for there might be left or right brainers.
Oh my word this class is so interesting i can’t wait for the upcoming Saturday there is so much to learn here……… now my day one question is finding its answers day by day. They said if you are confused in your studies then you are learning surely and surely I am that leaving testimony………

When Facilitation Skills is in your destiny! # Module 1

Who would have known that the pursuit of a fun and engaging way to earn 18 academic points would lead me to this new avenue?

Now that I have eventually resolves all my login and technical issues, I have finally landed on this blogging portal! I am beaming with excitement and enthusiasm to share my discoveries and learnings.

First and foremost, to learn and understand what ”Facilitation” means and entails was like a breath of fresh air. I discovered that the hallmark of a good leader requires that one has a handle on the art of Facilitations. As a student of leadership at Wits Business School, it had never dawned on me that the management and leadership of individuals in organisations is actually driven and fueled by one’s ability to facilitate growth, empathy, performance and ultimately the expansion of the bottom line. The lecture format was new to me, relaxed and informal and allows for one on one interaction and engagement. Time flies in a Facilitations lecture.

As a leader in my organisation, Fascilitations has allowed me to be open minded in terms of receiving other people’s points of view and perspectives. I keep this realization at the back of my mind to be applied in all my interactions with colleagues and suppliers alike.

Upon reflection on the learnings from #Module 1, I have come to terms with the fact that I am dominating and impatient and that listening to others does not come naturally or easily to me. All these realizations show me that I have loads of room for improvement on the ”Fascilitation” aspects of my leadership style.

Let the journey begin.

It’s Never Too Late to Reflect!

Though the post is delayed, I wanted to share my experience in the first lecture. Initially I was confused and perhaps this was due to lateness. As I came in, everyone in the room was having a conversation and I didn’t know whether I should join in but what was I going to say?  I somewhat lacked a sense of belonging and I thought perhaps this was not for me. During the lecture I observed that most people were more bored than confused and some mentioned that it was not what they expected. I guess when you are used to doing things in a traditional way, there’s always going to be expectations and when those are not met; we tend to be disappointed or bored! Just like I have found myself in situations where people expect a certain effect from me and when it is not what is expected I tend to be judged or labelled.

Mantra for this day was “perfectly imperfect!”

sadadaae urgain? where did the week go so quick?

–>yep were on to the next one …were back at it Rise and Shine!

hella fresh this morning and im so present in the moment….just like our topic for the day – Mindful Facilitation –

what is facilitation??? being able to openly share your insight in exchange to openly receiving feedback while having and working on a set goal…being present in the moment 

started making a few friends. i hear one needs some cos when the going gets tough your gonna need all the support you can get. so once again Facilitation skills course we are here to honour our commitments so please be kind 🙂

…we have our first group facilitating already this morning and boy am i glad i’m not one of them. but never the less the usual of removing tables and sitting in a huge circle has been done and were ready to watch what group 1 has prepared for us…

ahh shame they did pretty well for the first group. better than expected actually. i honestly didn’t learn much from them because they turned their facilitation more about a game of which social media is better than another without involving any key facts on why that social media platform is better than the rest.

once that was done we got back to working on our workbooks. i noticed we do a lot of group work  and this always allows time to always give and receive feedback…this is not meant to establish any  right or wrong answer. more of a what’s your take  and views typo thing. so yeah kinda makes you think …think of you,think of next person. and most importantly teaches one indirectly to be open minded. i know thats how im feeling now. i think its safe to say most of us are adjusting to the life of this class cos this class has a life of its own…Welcome to Facilitation Skills doll!

 

Active and Experiential learning

My best description for this facilitation course would be active and experiential learning.

On Saturday the first group presented their topic and from the moment I stepped into the FNB building I could hear them loud and clear. They definitely got my got attention but they never held it for long. They were engaging but not to educating, well my blog is not about them but what I learnt from the feedback.

A good facilitator is not attached to outcome, does not pass judgment, blame and throw sentiments. A good facilitator works together with the group and lets them express themselves and the same time guides them through to excellence. He/she encourages free thinking to retrieve the best from each person.

I am currently trying to show up to each moment in my life, I want to be more present both physically and mentally. I realized I have lost out on very crucial moments in life just because of day dreaming or not properly tuning into the moment. This is much easier said than done but each day I find myself slipping away I try remember that this is the moment that I will never get again in my life.

On the lighter side of things I have to say I wish they taught maths like facilitation I swear I  would be a genius! LOOOL!

Pleasantly surprised

To be extremely honest I took up Facilitation for the 18 credits, so the course chose me essentially. When I walked into class it was quite daunting at first it had an exam look and feel to it everyone was seated in rows and dead quiet staring ahead of them, and I thought O hell no I should have slept in.  When class started  Ros commanded us to get rid of our desks and sit in a circle , for a moment I was confused and not sure what was about to transpire. Sitting in a circle was more intimate and we had group discussions, what I took away from week one is that you come across people for a reason, it allowed me to think deeper and borrowing from other people’s life experiences, which I am able to apply to everyday life. I was only aiming to obtain the credits and I have gained so much more.

Necessity of a working basis

Facilitation is the process of learning and educating with the desired outcome, it includes engaging your audience through participation. It’s a two way process, you give and receive. As a facilitator you must remain neutral and receive feedback, you shouldn’t be biased.

Week two was very interesting, a minute i walked in into that lecture i had one thing in mind, I am here to take care of myself. I should be aware of my surroundings but not too mindful of what they are going to say about me or think of me. Again i found myself with a group of new people, we have to work together to identify a facilitator from the stories we read and come with one term of facilitation.

I said to myself if i want to succeed in any field of endeavor there is a first step, i must discover a working basis. I need to break every chain  of fear. This course is helping me to be a good leader and articulate. Even the bible says: whosoever shall say unto this mountain, be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.

Learning to let go and opening myself up to total strangers (Module 1 – Introduction)

Facilitation is teaching through participation, engaging , self learning and discussions.  Although I was late for our lecture and missed the presentation this past Saturday, the latter part of the facilitation skills class was quite interesting and mind opening for me.  I am not exactly the type of person who lets strangers in easily, some have even defined my introverted personality as being cold, unwelcoming (which I obviously do not agree with), so finding myself in more than one group both during and after class pushed me out of my comfort zone.  on Saturday I realized that I still have a long way to go in learning to socialize with other and letting go and I am grateful for this lesson.

Another part of the lesson that interested me was when the difference between people with substance and those who are always in the fore front was explained.  I think it actually brought a few thinks into perspective.  I’ve always wondered why and how lazy people always managed to climb the corporate ladder quicker and now I know.

This is my first blog so I don’t really have much more to say.

Fish out of water!

That’s how I felt on the first session of the Facilitation course, not that I had any expectations, just expected a regular class session like the rest of them where we all sit at our desks and pay attention to a lecturer in front. I had arrived a few minutes late as I thought the class starts at 9:00. Imagine my shock when the first thing I notice is this huge window that won’t allow you to sneak in privately to hide the shame of being late, then you are told to stand up and move the furniture to the side of the room so you are ‘exposed’ to everyone whilst adjusting to that, then go, meet and introduce yourself to three new people and ask them personal questions. The introvert in me thinks, ‘Did you sign up for the right module. Are you at the right place. How are you going to swim your way out of the this pool?’

To top it all, the Facilitator tells us we will need to submit a weekly blog. Right then I remembered a friend of mine who tried to introduce me to blogging but then Lindiwe not being one to venture into unknown fields, declined the offer. I remember saying to her, “I am not a creative writer, blogs are open to criticism and I don’t want to subject myself to that as I will not know how to handle being criticized on my thoughts”.  3 years later I am finding myself eating a humble pie and asking the same friend for help on how to write a gripping blog every week.

After letting my guard down on the day, I got to meet beautiful individuals, some new and others not so new in the face but new in conversation. I experienced that FEAR can hold one back, that it  really is False Evidence Appearing Real, as I walked out of that session with a bit more confidence than what I have started with.

I promised myself to apply what I had learnt in my other classes by choosing a different seating spot each week, not only be present in the spot but to make conversations with the people around me.

Slowly this fish is finding it’s way back in the water. Looking forward to 10 more uncomfortable but pleasant experiences

First day

My day started waking up and preparing to go to class knowing that I did not do the tutorial or read I was panicking wondering if I will be able to follow the lecture and grasp the teaching.

Surprisingly  we had to do do sitting arrangement that went well and the content for the day was insightful I learn a lot on things that I thought are not important my perspectives have changed.

I must admit I was little uncomfortable to mingle in the class ,my frustration came when I realize that I must do article and publish it on these thing called blog…

 

Wh0 Care$?!

Breaking the ice !

Boring!!!! (Attitude intended)

Who cares why you here? Who cares about your personal growth? In fact, who cares about what your name is and getting to know one another, you’re gonna forget my name anyway.

So let’s be real. I am here for credits and I am ensuring that I don’t speak about myself is  one of the plans to my madness that will be shared at a later stage.

So who cares that we are here? YOU. Jip, you are. I have read some blogs and realized that this might be one of the most valuable credits for my degree that I will encounter. This makes the every ‘you’ out there in our facilitation class care about their reflections on the new things we learned.

“We reflect on our reflections” caught my attention as the words rolled off from Rosyln’s lips – our Facilitator. What a statement! Immediately I cared. The unstructured class even challenged the purple head artsy lady, nevertheless, let’s check in.

Already a journey from who cares? to I do! (attitude changed). After we were put in groups and we got to know each other, Group 6 seemed promising to journey with. Already sitting as a group like cats watching the fish – the fish bowl technique. Being the observer was difficult in class. This is known as the Balcony technique.However, applying it at work brings a broader perspective on the subjects or aim as a whole to what it is we actually want to do as a team rather than everyone discussing everything at the same time and having no common goal. The Balcony technique gives an insight of direction and reveals the gaps to be covered.

A more interesting learning point was finding out the aims of one’s topic – “the intangible part” where your audience should walk away with in terms of their experience received – When people walk away from class what will they have?

So as for now, I care enough to focus on the aim to engage as a facilitator with my audience, when we as a group do our presentation and more so leave them with food for thought.

#My ice has broken… let’s check in Next week!

 

Nine Things I Didn’t Know About Facilitation

As the saying goes “the root of disappointment comes from holding expectations”. Driving hastily into campus on a Saturday morning, all I’m thinking about is making it on time, and finding the lecture hall with no hustle and bustle.

Entering the empty halls, and welcomed by A4-sized, bold, black and white signage with arrows and the course name – I finally enter the traditionally setup classroom; tables and chairs lined up one behind the other. “Find a seat in the front row” was my first instinct, so as to hear and see my lecturer. Ten minutes into the lecture, we’re getting up from our chairs and speaking to three strangers about what we’re hoping to learn from the course.  As if that wasn’t enough, the traditionally setup classroom is then transformed into a warm circle of love, literally!

Interactivity and engagement are the order of the morning, and with no background of the course, my experience of the first day and my classmates’ view and understanding is far removed from a text book definition. In theory, the classroom setup and activities were subtle ‘boosts’ taking us through a series of experiences – a practical example of FACILITATION.

9 Things I didn’t know about facilitation:

  • not your average course
  • experiential learning
  • interactive
  • engaging
  • empathy is a tool in facilitation
  • journey of self-discovery
  • learning: educational kinesthesiolopgy
  • facilitating
  • blogging
  • holding the container

Welcome to the first day of the rest of your life 🙂

Sitting plan.

The class of facilitation skills on the 29th July was confusing for me. I did not feel like im attending a class the way we were sitting. Honestly I did not contribute anything, all because im an introvert and do not like attention and have a stage fright and more over haven’t been in a group of strangers like I was in that class. Honestly im going to struggle in terms of participations and presentations but hopefully will gain confidence and be able to adapt to the situations though a semester is a very long time as I will be compromising myself.

Introduction to facilitation

Its Friday morning and I finally built up the courage to do this blog. I have never done this before because I don’t really like writing. This is taking me out of my comfort zone because I am very concerned  of what people think.

How would I describe my first day of facilitation ? Different,it was not what I was expecting .When we were asked to leave our tables to the side and put our chairs in a circle I was very apprehensive because now everyone was exposed . As mentioned by some of the students ,it was unstructured to some degree. I found myself feeling very uncomfortable at times especially when questions were to be answered.I don’t like talking in front of large crowds even though I see myself as an extrovert but I find it difficult to talk in an open forum.

Roslyn did warn us that we were expected to be challenged in this class and participation was one of the key factors to attending. She did also mention that there were people that found it easier to talk in groups but those people were expected to listen more,which I found very interesting.I don’t remember much about the lesson because there was so much going on and I was more concerned with not making a fool of myself .

The one thing I am excited about is that this class is a break from the academic structure of my other subjects.We were put into our groups and I think  we are a good match and that we will work well together. There is no right or wrong  as mentioned by Roslyn ,as long as I participate and try to connect I think I will be fine.I see myself taking lessons from this class that will encourage me in not only in confronting my fears of public speaking but also to understand myself as a person. The only way to succeed in it is to open my self to participating.

Well that s all I have for today .I wish every one in the class the best for this semester not only in this class but in all your subjects.

No Expectations equals no disappointments

Having been at Wits for two years, it was very refreshing to see a new breed of people possessing great energy and excitement. This was my first class for Facilitation Skills however as you would know, it was not my first class at Wits. I expected the same sort of feel, holding back and hesitations from students that I often see at every first class especially if there are new people. Was I in for a surprise?

The team that is presenting the course has an amazing way of pouring the energy, love and excitement they have for the course on the rest of the class. By halfway, everyone in the room including myself was relaxed, motivated and expectant of more and more surprises and newness. It is one thing for those familiar with the environment to dance and sing about how great the course is on their own with no backing singers, but it is another to have the audience joining into the fever and excitement. That is what I experienced during this class. It was like there was an invisible wave of transfusion pumping the blood of energy across the room. With every passing second, smiles were getting wider and wider; and the room was getting friendlier and friendlier and the people were getting warmer and warmer.

One question of my mind is whether we will have the ability to keep the momentum going throughout these coming weeks. With the leading team having set the pace, the answer to that question rests on all of us as we go through the rest of the semester. My part in the puzzle is to ensure that I remain open to new experiences and learning whilst I also open myself up for others to see a bit of me as well. My chapter was opened and the rest of the pages of the chapter are ready to be written through the interactions with a wonderful group of people that form the Facilitation Skills class 2017.

An unstructured day for the structured

So I’m a solid mess between an introvert and an extrovert and it all depends on the situation. So the night before the first Facilitation skills lecture I asked myself what could I expect of myself in such an environment? The answer… nothingness. I didn’t know what to expect because I didn’t know what the lecture would be about. The opinions I had heard from others who have completed the course was that it was easy enough and that the effort would equally meet the reward.

Upon entering the lecture venue, late might I add, I realised that something new was happening. Desks and chairs had been moved out of the way and the students were all standing around talking. I then realised that people had been asked to go around the room and ask each other what their expectations are for the course. Something inside me broke, the introvert in me decided to creep out and drink the Horlicks in my hand. As I watched my friend walk away to go engage with the class I was stuck, until a stranger approached me and asked “so what do you expect to gain from this class?” The words came out of my mouth like they belonged to someone else, “I expect to learn something new about myself and maybe experience something uncomfortable.” Later I found out that this little ‘meet and greet’, that I was so terrified of, has a name it is called “Check-in” and that it is quite useful to break the ice and provide context of expectations. I thought what a great tool to use in my team building speeches and training sessions at work.

During the course of the lecture my answer to the check-in came back to prove itself right. I was indeed uncomfortable. More so than I could remember having been in my four years of study at Wits Plus and more than on a first day at a new job. To top it off, I was not only uncomfortable but I felt completely confused. So let me explain, I am the most organised and structured person I know. My profession requires that I not only organise and structure myself but that I organise and structure others. Yes I get paid to organise and structure other people. So I was confused because this class has no structure. The lecturer told us so, although she didn’t really need to mention it, was plain to see. We didn’t work on desks or copy from slides or the board, we didn’t listen to someone explain theory to us etc. So it was nothing like a traditional, structured lecture.

Later we were asked to pick numbers out of a bag to be put into groups. I didn’t know whether to be excited about possibly having to engage with new people or upset that we couldn’t just pick group members ourselves. When the groups finally came together I was surprised to find myself joking with these new people. When we were experiencing the fish bowl technique I was thinking,as pleasant as this seems, I am still very confused but give yourself time… today is but the first.

 

So driving home I thought, Challenging? Yes… but not impossible. 

Finding focus around confusion

It’s Saturday morning and my alarm goes off. Immediately, my thoughts take me to the Facilitation Skills class that I’ve enrolled in. So many questions flow through my head.  The first- whether if this would benefit me and second- if I’m ready for studies as I’ve been away from studying for a good number of years. On route, I pondered what my new class mates would be like. If personalities would be welcoming and I try to gain composure and focus. As I walk into class, I am thrown out of my comfort zone by Roslyn offering a table as seating. “Interesting, now this is different” I think to myself. “Let’s see what happens next”.

After some time, I realise that the material is insightful and allows for lots of self introspection and has kept my overactive imagination buzzing with ideas. For an Ambivert such as myself, there’s never a dull moment as I notice every detail.  One method of learning I found interesting is called the “Fishbowl”. Listening to others views while they brainstorm at a topic provided to them and expressing their diverse opinions.

Everyone is encouraged to think “outside the box” which ordinarily would scare me to retract even though I have millions of ideas. The warm and smiling faces encourage me to get involved into articulating my ideas, wanting to fully engage. In conclusion: my mind-set is broadened, stimulated and alive! Definitely a winning concept and method. I take my hat off to all who have been involved in putting together the class material and activities. To many more “unstructured winning content”.

 

A Nervous Wreck

Running toward the very same lecture venue that I have written past exams in.  The stress is building up since it is my first lecture without my dear friend, that has been with me on this journey since the beginning.  An overwhelming rush of nerves spread to my face as I walk into the class.  There is someone in front explaining an experience.  For a brief moment I stop….. wait am I in the right class?  Gosh! How embarrassing if I weren’t! Please let a big whole just suck me in…

A woman gets up and continues the conversation as I am finding a place for myself.  Something about “getting out of your comfort zone”.  MY HEART DROPS!  Wait! What?  I like my comfort zone, it is warm and fuzzy… what nonsense is this about getting out of your comfort zone?

The next moment we moved our chairs and tables to the side, I was trying to find a hiding spot when a familiar face approached me.  You would think that I would feel calmer by now, but my toes are crawling for the nearest shaded spot… what is happening here!  Everyone is talking to everyone and all of a sudden! A new face… in my face… my first reaction is to move back slowly, but her eyes and smile seems less scary the longer she is talking to me… relief.

“Grab a chair and form a circle.”  Please tell me small circles! NOPE! One big circle! I can’t even remember what we were discussing at this point.  I wrote notes.  Circle within a circle, no wait a bigger circle around that circle.  And learning, there was definitely something mentioned about learning…  After the break, we were giving numbers.  I get the lucky number (drum roll please) 7! For the first time in the class I have a sigh of relief as I see a familiar face from earlier on, in my new much smaller group.  It was great to meet these new people in a smaller environment.

A discussion occurs in the middle of the class room, for second I am lost again, might be the happy thoughts of meeting new people.  Anyways… back to the discussion.  I am not sure what they are saying but they are talking.  I continue with my inner thoughts. What a weird class, sitting like this, in a big circle.  It seemed like a scene out of a movie, where the people gather for an AA meeting.  Hi my name is Paschal and I am not an introvert,  I just don’t like new people, and then after a while I do! Hahaha!  Well this was my experience, a frightful one, but definitely a course that I am looking forward to, maybe, just maybe I might start liking new people.

Check Within

One can’t help but walk into situations with preconceived ideas of how the experience will feel like. Take a visit to the gym after a two-year hiatus for example; you either walk in there ready to ‘conquer’ the machines or much like me, your mantra for the next hour becomes ‘I better make it out alive’. It’s no wonder then that when I hopped into FNBGA on Saturday morning, I expected to learn all sort of techniques that would make me a great facilitator. Not that I had the faintest idea of what a facilitator was.

The image in my head..a great presenter encompassing exceptional mediating skills. Huh, boy was I in for a surprise. Turns out, facilitating has more to do with what you pull out from people by getting them involved rather than imparting your own ideas and acting like a rocking chair to a crying baby. It was time to check within..

What did I expect to gain from this course other than the 18 points I need to graduate? I mean graduating is top of mind, cum laude being the goal, but what in Facilitation Skills did I hope to leave with much like in my studying of Psychology I hope to gain a better understanding of the human mind and behaviour.

The answer: To be able to accept other people’s opinions, reserving judgement and try not to get emotionally involved when exposed to differing life perspectives

Looking back at Saturday’s experience having already lived it, I am reminded of a quote that I once loved by M Scott Peck that says, “As we negotiate the curves of our lives, we must continually give up parts of ourselves.” I’m all ready to shed off old layers of my personlity that have served their purpose in order to gain new traits that will carry me to the place I seek and plan to be. This course appears to be the best catalyst.

As for my progress at the gym, I’m still huffing and puffing.

All work is passive without YOU…introvert, extrovert, structured and allllll.

So it’s taken a few hours  for me to finally post this blog, I was anxious  and remarkably clueless on what to write and how  to write it. So much so that I was convinced I was going to be the only one in the class who has not put up a post by the time we meet again. But before I could give up I realised that whilst this blog is important, the fate of the world doesn’t depend on it, JUST MY WORLD. Kidding! No but seriously, in my world things have to be done at a certain time and in a particular way, if I’m really uncomfortable about something I shift to delay tactics or delegate, but this was going to be different…so here goes!

You see I believe that work is only an idea before we do it, but once we start doing the work it comes alive and takes on our attitudes and personalities. This pretty much sums up my experience in class this past weekend.

Once I had settled in and we started to get into the work, attitudes and personalities became more visible as these are always reflected in all that we do. Then came the fish bowl exercise which went on to emphasize how important it is for the entire group to participate in the activities regardless of our personalities and that sometimes we may be a bit shy because we are attached to our own settled views on life and ways of being that when we are threatened or intimidated by something different we come across as awkward or uncomfortable.

At the end of the day I realised that my world is not about to end just as yet and that it’s okay for me to feel uncomfortable or like “a fish out of the bowl” because that means I am learning.  (Have you ever felt your brain physically growing? Me neither, but it sounds like it would be a cool thing…so let’s wait and see).

                                   

                                

To say that I am giddy in anticipation of what’s to come in the next few weeks is an understament. Here’s to an interesting semester, improved blogging skills and a lot more.

Mbali

 

 

A tale of many lessons

Once upon a time there was a young male adult called Justice Nkomo, this young man is from a political activist who inherently lacks time as he has assumed so much activities in his life, from being a family man, to be a director of an NGO, from being SGB member to be a political activist, anything that marks itself of activeness and vibrancy, this young man is there because of his eager to survive. This young male is me. My first encounter with the facilitation course was through the wits plus administrator, my courses were clashing, and I needed the point and given my experience in the field of working with people I felt it was going to be a walk in the park, “Facilitation”.

Based on my common understanding of the course, I never really anticipated that there can be so much in the concept of facilitation as I have been to leadership camps and thus we were taught of a group participation where there is a facilitator as the chair, I was wrong. This course in the beginning got me to note that one must never take thing at face value given the thought of historic understanding of a concept, never pre-empt knowledge and always be willing to learn.

Upon integration of the course material I realised that there is more to facilitation than chairing a meeting or a group activity, this course was worthy of studying and i hope that at the end of my learning route I will depart a better person. I am changing my approach to the course and indeed it is a tale of many lessons to come.

Let the journey begin… 

A fish out of water!

A fish out of water!
That’s exactly how I felt while approaching the classroom in the morning – A little scared, somewhat anxious, but mostly lost – I didn’t know what to expect.
I smile when I recall the mini pep talk I had with myself while driving to campus: “…Just breathe, you’ve got this…” I mean how hard could facilitating be – right? So I thought let me just give it a chance and kinda just go with it….you know?

A few minutes into the intro…”OMG….What was I thinking?!!!” – was hands down the predominant thought as Ross enthusiastically continued to explain the outcomes of the course and her requirements and expectations of each student. The mere thought of blogging and standing up to speak to a group of people brought one word to mind……daunting!!! And indeed it was….

This was taken up a notch when we had to pick a number and split into groups to facilitate the upcoming topics – yours truly just had to go and pick number 1! Although, I must admit that doing the fishbowl technique as a group wasn’t too bad. And as luck would have it, I’m teamed up with some pretty cool peeps.

But my Aha-moment came when I looked across the room and observed similar feelings to mine displayed on the faces of my fellow class mates. And after a few quick chats, it dawned on me that I’m not the only one feeling a little lost, somewhat confused and a tad bit out of place.
I’m not the only one trying to find my feet and I’m certainly not the only one freaking out at the prospect of stepping out of my comfort zone.
I guess feeling this way is kinda normal then. As someone once said, “Everyday – do something new- something that scares you and you will then realize there’s so much more we have to offer if we just release our inhibitions”
So instead of holding on to all these self-imposed limitations and putting myself in a box labeled “Introvert” –  I am going to embrace this course and apply whatever I can in my everyday life. I invite you all to do the same. And who knows? We may just discover another facet of ourselves; one we never even knew existed.

facilitate…facilitation!

What a confusing start to this module! So I arrived late for the first lecture, I was about 20 minutes late(which felt like an hour!)  I struggled to grasp what was being discussed. I think what made me feel confused more was the entire class setup…so unusual!. I was able to find a seat after a short break and it was then that I got to grasp a whole lot!

See, I have never been good with words so this blogging thing will take a bit of while to get used to.

Suprizingly I got to enjoy interacting with my fellow students and I have realisd that interacting is another form of learning. I can’t wait for our groups turn to present our topic!

My learning key point : it is when we are most uncomfortable that we learn most!

 

 

 

Welcome to BLOGGING & Learning

My listening skills and patience got tested big time…. I got to class on Saturday morning, having no expectations what so ever because I’ve read the course pack but it didn’t make sense at all. Wow! what I’ve experienced was a totally different story altogether, I have never ever been in a disruptive situation as on that day, it made me feel a bit lost in the beginning but as the session progressed it all started falling into place.

The fish bowl experience was the first for me and I know now it is an awesome tool or technique to be using when you want your spectators to be involved by asking questions etc. and for the team in the fish bowl to get to the best solutions or for everyone to be on the same page. I however feel it will be best to use a cordless microphone or something to project the sound effectively, specially when the groups are so huge because not hearing what the conversation is all about can make a person feel like getting lost in your own thoughts & not concentrating so well as expected in class.

I have learned that the check-in technique works very well when conducting meetings or group conversations, this is what I’ve introduced in our department this week. My experience was that not everyone is completely comfortable to speak about their feelings or their concerns in an open forum and they’ve asked to be passed when it was their turn to say something. Well, this was the beginning for many check-ins to be conducted at our meetings until everyone is comfortable enough to speak up or just be present:-)

 

Learning and more learning

Since I was five years old I have been in class. Learning all types of new information. When I passed Matric I was so happy that i would never ever put on a uniform and off I went to college where I planned many escapades of bad behavior whilst mastering the art of writing and conjuring magical words. I had hopes that I would change the words with a stroke of my pen. Oh how disappointed I was to find that a Pulitzer Prize would not grace my cabinet. Now I am once more at school learning more.

I found that its not easy to be a student there are so many challenges that comes with it especially for us oldies. Firstly there are money challenges, finding funds to go back to the classroom is no easy feat. Once the money is in the bank account of the school you discover that the work that must be studied is a lot. Marxism and I have never been friends. Finding out that pessimist you is actually a realist with liberalism tendencies is a new revelation.

Then there are exams which are often after bloody wars have been played out on campus.

The life of an older student is no easy task however we want the Wits University degree which society tells us will fill a void in our lives and make us rich beyond our dreams.

I don’t want to be rich i want to be happy and I am hoping that somewhere in my many courses is the happiness course. I want to use my degree to spread happiness to all corners of Mzanzi.

 

Losing my Virginity to Blogging

My first time blogging!! this should be interesting. A public diary of a mature women.

So I got a late start to my first day of lecture. Yippee my prize for been late, I get to plop my bottom on a table, also because the class is so disorganised and people that came in early decided to push the chairs way back behind them.(thank you) Not a good start, but never the less I continue to strain my hearing to find out what in Gods green earth is going on.
Something about blogging… I lean over to glance at my neighbours notes.. finally the water is less muddy.

During the break myself and Zanele another late buddy, find ourselves a nice warm place to sit. Breaks over and into groups we go.
Ha lucky number 11 the last group! so yay the last group to also present. Our topic “Acknowledging Others” I seriously think we have the easiest topic in this class. So many angles to look at it from. My group consisting of 10 people. Jemina our little admin guru quickly puts together a whatsapp group.

We then proceeded to watch this fish bowl (brain storming of group one) Talk about watching paint dry!!! Now I am counting the minutes for this class to end. The flu is getting the best of me and all I can think of now is my bed.

Before we adjourned we had to group ourselves to find out what we have learnt in today session.

  • Structure will not work … eish am I going to be in trouble.
    You need to come out of your comfort zone… hmm it is winter pretty hard to do that right now.
  • Communicating in a different format … yay take that my primary school English teachers.
  • Introvert will find it a challenge because they need to speak up… yip this is going to be a problem for me.
  • At the end of course able to speak and express one self… gosh I hope I can learn to articulate myself better when it comes to public speaking.
  • Social media is going to be a challenge for me… I am happy this content is not for the WHOLE world to see. Not a public speaker nor a writer.

Just learnt that there is a difference between shyness and introvert/extrovert, so am going to google this now.

Finally the confusion.. sorry I meant class is over.

Introduction

Yesterday, I attended my first class after an absence of almost 15 years! Can you believe time goes that quick… well I was not sure what to expect other than the fact that I had butterflies in my tummy the morning I drove into wits, the long parking queues to get in did not help much either.
After eventually finding my way into class which I was a little late for I settled in pretty well I though until our lecturer Ros decided it was time to move the furniture around and do a walking introduction, oh no I thought here goes all the structure and routine I who is governed by it, more butterflies.
Overall I must admit as daunting as the idea was the entire class gelled pretty well and it was pleasant to get out of my comfort zone and meet fellow students, who to my surprise where just as anxious as myself.
After the walkabout we got to sit in a circle which was very unconventional and not at all what I expected from a first lecture, it did however break the ice and set the tone for the rest of the morning. The main point that stood out for me was the phase “check in” which for me meant the following – out with the old, tradition, whatever you had expected, leave your old self behind and in with new, bold, different, unconventional.
I think by continuing and engaging in this course my skills as a person will definitely improve, in just one morning I have learnt so much more about myself and observed the way we all interact and communicate with each other and that alone gives me great hope and strength to continue experimenting in this new term “facilitation skills”…
I definitely have a lot of thoughts to sift through for the next week and I can confidently say I am up for the challenge that lies ahead! On that positive note cheers for now, until next time….. ZJ

Facilitation Skills

So today was the first class for facilitation skills. From the get go it was obvious to me that this is a course unlike any other I’ve had in all my years of study. It Appears to be a bit of a more social kind of vibe. But it’s not out of control or chaos . I am both exited and nervous to see how the rest of the year will progress, and how many new people I will meet.

Until next week,

Bey!

Sitting on the Learning Precipice

Thinking back to the first day of class, I am reflecting  on the overwhelm and confusion I always feel at the beginning of any new learning experience.  In fact, it usually takes me about one third of the allotted time for to go “AHA that’s what is going on!!”, and by then, I have to catch up on what has already been learned by everyone else, so I always feel on the back foot. 

That is  my adaptation pattern and I wonder if you have thought about yours?

Alvin Toffler once said, “The illiterates of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”  

This tends to reinforce the “empty vessel” notion of education, where knowledge needs to be poured into the heads of passive students.  Yet that is not how life works.  We are always learning and don’t stop to deconstruct what we know to unlearn it before we begin to adapt to what is new.

We do, however, perceive the world through our own lens of reality and  it is impossible to erase the neural pathways of experience.   If we want to understand the world differently, we need to break free of our perceptual filters and habits of knowing.   This means consciously letting go of the confines of our world view.  

It takes curiosity rather than conviction and the willingness to let go of our addiction to being right.

Last week I had an interesting experience with a large client who I have been working with for a long time and who  contracted to deliver a large and complex project.  The project is now midway and stakeholder relationships have become tense and adversarial,  communication has broken down and trust is being eroded at every point of contact.

We reviewed their current situation, and they quickly realized that their course of action is becoming more and more destructive.   Alvin Toffler also once said, “If you don’t have a strategy, you’re part of someone else’s strategy”, so we decided to forge a different pathway that would be more constructive. 

After many hours of searching for defensive solutions to complex problems that demand a transformational rather than a tactical strategy,  I asked a critical question which was  “Who is the enemy”.  Their dawning realization  was “we are behaving as if they are”. 

We then  began to experiment with creating a new set of maps based on  possibilities that could emerge if they held a different perspective.  We agreed that seeing the client through new eyes would result in a natural shift in their approach from being defensive and attacking to one of partnering and collaborating toward shared goals.   They have not re-engaged with their client yet, but I am waiting with baited breath to find out if their new paradigm  will yield results that are are of value for all stakeholders.