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What do facilitators do?

Roger Greenaway's Active Reviewing Tips 13.1 ~ ISSN 1465-8046
A free monthly publication from Reviewing Skills Training

ARTips 13.1   What do facilitators do?


~ 1 ~ EDITORIAL: How do you do ...?

'How do you do facilitation?' is a bit of a conversation stopper.
Ask this to a facilitator and I guarantee that you will get
hesitation and evasiveness.

I (too) have spent many years being evasive on this point - and
for a very good reason: which is that I like to be 'learner-
centred' and pay attention to what the learner is doing (rather than being facilitator-centred).

In the Tao of Leadership, John Heider admires the kind of group
leadership which might result in the group saying 'We did it
ourselves'. Such a leader is working in such subtle ways that the
group do not notice what the leader is doing (if anything).

So how can you model yourself on a style of leadership in which
the leader is almost entirely invisible?

This mystery about what facilitators (or Tao-ish leaders)
actually do is very frustrating all round: for those who are
learning to facilitate, for researchers (such as Thiagi) trying
to work out what facilitators do, and for a government department
commissioning a researcher to identify the competencies of
facilitators.

That researcher was me. I identified 238 facilitation
competencies before giving up: I could see no end in sight.
Should I stop at 500 or 1,000 or when the funding runs out?

Because Active Reviewing Tips is focused on what is useful and
practical, the article that follows keeps 'tips' in the
foreground - but without dismissing the possibility that a really
good facilitator could be someone who does very little or is
someone with a few hundred competencies (or both?).

I hope the article below brings some useful clarity to what
facilitators do without destroying the spontaneity, flexibility,
and ever-changing nature of what it is like to facilitate
learning in groups.

Roger Greenaway
roger@reviewing.co.uk

Don't just do it - actively review it!

~ 2 ~ ARTICLE: What do facilitators do?

'What do facilitators do?' is about how to facilitate learning
from experience in dynamic ways in a group setting. The focus is
on what you do as a facilitator. It is a deliberate contrast to
my usual emphasis on what learners do in an active reviewing
process.

REVIEWING THE SITUATION
7 SITUATIONS YOU CAN ANTICIPATE
3 SITUATIONS THAT ARE DIFFICULT TO ANTICIPATE
8 WAYS OF FACILITATING ACTIVE LEARNING
TEN REVIEWING METHODS: WHAT EXACTLY DO YOU DO?

REVIEWING THE SITUATION

What it is best to do as a facilitator depends very much on the
situation. Being tuned in to the 'situation' will help you make
good choices about what to do. And the more you review in ways
that encourage people to express themselves, the more you will be
in tune with the 'situation'. So it is very useful (and
rewarding) if you can get this virtuous cycle going in which
everyone, including yourself, gets tuned in to what people are
experiencing.


7 SITUATIONS YOU CAN ANTICIPATE
(You can plan for these)

Some situations are quite predictable and can be anticipated.

For example:

1. You can anticipate the priorities for what you need to do at
the beginning, middle and end of a programme - which is why I
advocate designing reviews into a programme before you put the
activities in place. More on this in a future issue [since achieved: see  Designs for Reviewing: 10 tips]

2. You can anticipate how certain activities will generate
particular kinds of incidents, experiences and issues.

3. You can anticipate how you might need to facilitate a
different kind of review following an experience of success or
failure. (see: http://reviewing.co.uk/success)

4. You can anticipate how you can best facilitate a loud group, a
quiet group, a group with a mix of loud and quiet people.

5. You can anticipate how you can best facilitate a review when
time is short and when there is more time available.
(see: http://reviewing.co.uk/toolkit/quick-reviews.htm)

6. And the group size will determine which kinds of facilitation
strategy will work best
(see: http://reviewing.co.uk/toolkit/large_groups.htm)

7. The current situation may lend itself to working with
particular learning objectives - whether from the general
programme objectives or arising from individual needs or goals.

So, before deciding what you are going to do as a facilitator you
may want to consider the above 7 points. Here they are again
presented as questions:

1. What stage of the programme is it?
2. What reviewing opportunities will the activity provide?
3. What is the mood of the group?
4. How can I engage all participants (quiet or loud)?
5. How much time is available?
6. What works best with this size of group?
7. What opportunities are there for working on key objectives?

And when you have thought this through and have come up with
'Plan A' you will be well advised to have a 'Plan B' (because
things change and facilitation is mostly a responsive role). And
a 'Plan Z' will be handy too: an emergency plan that will work in
almost any situation.


3 SITUATIONS THAT ARE DIFFICULT TO ANTICIPATE
(You can even plan for these too!)

1. YOU ARE IN THE DARK
You know very little about the event you are about to review. You
are reviewing an event at which you were not present. (You may
have less information than usual, but you can still prepare a
review for these situations.)

2. THE UNEXPECTED
Unexpected events often capture people's interest and can become
a more significant source of learning than the events you had
planned or predicted. (You need to judge whether the surprise is
a distraction or a welcome opportunity for learning.)

3. YOU ARE STUCK
All your options seem to run out. Or none of your options feel
right. Or it feels like a brand new situation that you have never
encountered before. You want to dial the facilitation hot line
(or try strategy 5 described below).


8 WAYS OF FACILITATING ACTIVE LEARNING

1. Modelling an active learner
2. Explaining your various roles
3. Leaving space for learning
4. Sharing out opportunities
5. Using transparent facilitation
6. Delegating facilitation
7. Stimulating conversation
8. Challenging participants


1. BE A ROLE MODEL

Remember that groups will tend to copy how you behave. So think
about what you want learners to do and set a good example of what
it is like to be an active learner. Some examples:

* If you are asking participants to set learning goals, you can
declare your own learning goals.

* You can join in active reviewing exercises as a participant
(tasting your own medicine may not always be a good move, but it
often is).

* Try to use demonstration rather than a pure verbal briefing.
For example, with Action Replay you can demonstrate how to use
the remote control and conduct interviews before handing over the
remote and the microphone.

Watch out. While joining in as a learner can be an influential
facilitation strategy, it can be too influential if there are not
also times when you let go, step back and leave space for others.


2. DESCRIBE YOUR CHANGING ROLE

The more different kinds of facilitation roles you take on
(joining in, standing back, helping, not helping) the more
confusing it can be for learners. The answer is not to cramp your
style and limit yourself to one role. Quite the opposite:
whenever it seems necessary, explain what your preferred role
will be in the next learning process - and why. (This point is
expanded later in 'The Role of the Facilitator' where I summarise
John Heron's model)

The more successful you are in helping groups grow and develop,
the more you will want to adjust your role and relationship to
best serve the group and their learning objectives. Spell out how
your role can change at different stages of group development and
at different stages of learning new skills.


3. LEAVE SPACE FOR LEARNING: Don't be a space invader!

What is NOT facilitative:

* Stepping into a problem-solving exercise with the solution.

* Being the main source of wisdom rather than letting
participants look to their own source of wisdom - their
experiences.

* Filling in the silence while people are thinking about the
question you have just asked.

* Asking all the questions and not drawing out questions from
learners.

* Telling participants what they should have done and should have
learned.

* and generally being too busy, too helpful and too interfering.

Tell the teacher inside you to take a rest when you want
participants to learn by reflecting on their experiences.


4. SHARE OUT OPPORTUNITIES AND INVOLVE EVERYONE

Although a discussion circle looks very democratic, a closer look
usually finds that the discussion is being dominated by a few: it
is effectively becomes 'theatre in the round' with a few people
performing while the rest spectate. Of course you can try making
it more participatory by persuading 'spectators' to get up 'on
stage', but it is smarter (and more effective) to find 'stages'
on which everyone is happy to perform. See 'Turntaking in Group
Reviews' for better ways of sharing out opportunities and
involving everyone.
http://reviewing.co.uk/articles/turntaking.htm


5. USE TRANSPARENT FACILITATION

If you face a facilitation problem and you feel a bit stuck and
are wondering what will be the best course of action ... you are
not alone. For a start there are probably different voices in
your head - and you can choose to tell the group about (some of)
these voices. And if you have no voices in your head, you can
tell the group about that too. And there are the voices of the
participants too. You are not throwing yourself at the mercy of
the group. You are using a very deliberate strategy of presenting
a problem to the group (a problem that might affect them more
than it does you). And you are consulting with them about the
best course of action. You are inviting them to be your
facilitation advisory committee...

Mmmm - perhaps that one is a step too far, but I think you can
see that such a strategy is very consistent with empowering
learners to take responsibility for their learning. It is a bit
more facilitative than saying 'I haven't a clue'.

If you want to dig deeper into this approach of 'over to you',
'what do you think?' or 'let's work this out together' then you
may find some useful insights from John Heron in the Complete
Facilitator's Handbook where he describes the value of moving
around between three basic facilitation modes: hierarchical,
cooperative, and autonomous.


6. DELEGATE FACILITATION

Question. When you work with groups how many facilitators are
there?

Answer. Everyone! All influence each other's approach to learning
through their motivation, curiosity, support, example etc.

So?  Bring this to participants' attention. Praise facilitative
behaviour and give opportunities for participants to praise each
other's facilitative behaviour. Assign responsibilities for
facilitating eg using learning buddies, coaching (in 'Goal
Keepers'), giving feedback or facilitating reviewing (such as in
Simultaneous Survey).


7. STIMULATE CONVERSATION

Activity Map and Horseshoe provide great opportunities for this.
(See: http://reviewing.co.uk/articles/ropes.htm)

8. CHALLENGE PARTICIPANTS

Persuasion Line and Turntable (if participating) allow you to be
challenging within the rules of these reviewing methods.
(See: http://reviewing.co.uk/archives/art/11_2.htm#ACTIVE_AUDITS
for an early version of Persuasion Line)
(See: http://reviewing.co.uk/discuss/discuss2.htm for an early
version of Turntable)


TEN REVIEWING METHODS: WHAT EXACTLY DO YOU DO?

Here are the 10 reviewing methods I described in my article
'Reviewing for Newcomers' now at:
http://reviewing.co.uk/archives/art/9_4.htm#2

Each method requires different action on the part of the
facilitator.

1. Mid-Activity Review:  don your Teflon jacket (temporarily)
2. Find a Picture or Object: plan to focus on what matters most
3. Learning Buddies:  set high expectations for the review method
4. Hokey-Cokey: choose a method and remember why you chose it
5. Spokes: encourage behaviour that facilitates learning
6. Brief Encounters: be prepared, be welcoming, be focused
7. Simultaneous Survey: calculate how long each stage will take
8. Empathy Test: ask the best possible questions
9. Missing Person: hope it goes right but let it go wrong
10. Horseshoe: enjoy facilitating focused discussion


1. Mid-Activity Review

WHAT DO YOU DO?

IN A NUTSHELL: DON YOUR TEFLON JACKET (TEMPORARILY)

* Intervene in a way that draws attention to what matters without
making your own intervention the issue.

* Be decisive, but try to leave final or significant decisions to
the group - so that they have full ownership of decisions made.

* Disrupt the normal pattern of 'waiting until the review': if
groups tend to be 'unfacilitated' during activities and
'facilitated' during reviews, try mixing things up a bit. But mix
with care - and with purpose.

IN MORE DETAIL

* If the mid-activity review is during a natural activity
break, try a low key 'How's it going? and improvise from there,
possibly directing questions at those who seem to be left out or
who may have a different view.

* If the mid-activity review is an intrusive break because you
have spotted (say) a safety issue, a 'teachable moment' or you
sense that there is little value to be derived from letting the
activity continue, you will want to be quite directive. Even so,
it is usually more facilitative to intervene with a question
rather than a judgement - because a judgement can make your
intervention the issue and draw attention away from what was
happening in the group.

* If you want the mid-activity review to be a brief one that
you will follow-up later, then invite people to pause and notice.
You may want to guide their noticing by suggesting what they pay
attention to, such as: the original briefing, their feelings,
questions that are on their mind (if any), their personal goals,
how satisfied they are with their own performance, how well they
think that they and others are keeping in mind what they learned
from the last review.


2. Find a Picture or Object

WHAT DO YOU DO?

IN A NUTSHELL: PLAN TO FOCUS ON WHAT MATTERS MOST

* Ensure that the question that everyone will be reflecting upon
is one that is big enough and matters enough to include and
engage everyone for the duration of the exercise.

* Plan ahead ensuring that the quality of materials, the quality
of questions and the time for sharing are all sufficient for the
desired quality of reflection.

IN MORE DETAIL

* Ensure a suitable range and variety of pictures or objects
are available.

* Ensure that the question to which the picture/object is the
answer is a question that is a worthwhile question for everyone
in the group and is worth spending time exploring and sharing.

* Anticipate how long any sharing process will take, ensuring
that there is sufficient time within the whole process for
achieving the depth of thought and quality of sharing that will
make the whole process worthwhile.


3. Learning Buddies

WHAT DO YOU DO?

IN A NUTSHELL: SET HIGH EXPECTATIONS FOR THE REVIEW METHOD

* State that learning buddies (or paired reflection) can be the
most valued part of a programme, and ask why this can be so. Also
discuss why paired reflection might not turn out well. (Yes you
are asking participants to review the benefits and drawbacks of
paired work, as a way of setting up a paired exercise!)

IN MORE DETAIL

* Think through the pros and cons of the different ways in
which people find 'learning buddies'. Options include: random
pairing (no choice), choose any partner, choose any new partner,
choose a partner who will continue to be your learning buddy
after the programme.

* To keep pairs to task, make the buddy exercise something that
leads on to the next activity or to some kind of scoring, sharing
or exhibiting.

* Keep a conversation going about what people find useful about
having a learning buddy and what they like about having their own
personal coach - and being someone else's personal coach. This
increases the chances of people appreciating the value of having
a learning buddy and using the time well. (Watch out for
partnerships that are not working well and provide options.)


4. Hokey-Cokey

WHAT DO YOU DO?

IN A NUTSHELL: CHOOSE A METHOD AND REMEMBER WHY

* You would choose Hokey-Cokey because it gives everyone in a
large group a chance to make a brief statement and because
(unlike Rounds) it brings increased energy and focus as the last
few people join in.

* So you would not let discussions happen during Hokey-Cokey, and
because you are trying to get everyone into the habit of speaking
up you would be unlikely to challenge what someone says. Within
this method you might even find yourself accepting cliches.

* At other times you will welcome discussion and you will make
challenges, but to do either of these things in the middle of
Hokey-Cokey would detract from your main purpose of encouraging
everyone to speak up.

IN MORE DETAIL

* Enjoy the playful nature of this exercise. It is primarily a
way of giving everyone a chance to speak up when they have
something to say. In large groups (of 15-20) you may need to work
hard to keep things moving.

* The exercise is designed to give everyone a say, so ensure
that everyone is heard. If anyone seems not to have been heard,
ask them to repeat what they said, or ask someone else to repeat
what they said, or repeat what they said yourself.

* The most interesting point comes when only a few people are
left to speak: judge the moment when to take the pressure off the
remaining individuals and turn it into a team challenge
to come up with a new statement. If the statements are about
individual contribution encourage the receivers of feedback to
insist on quality rather than to accept the first suggestion
made.


5. Spokes

WHAT DO YOU DO?

IN A NUTSHELL: ENCOURAGE BEHAVIOUR THAT FACILITATES LEARNING

* Make the giving and receiving of feedback enjoyable so that
people want to take part in this kind of learning experience.

* Monitor the giving of feedback, encouraging specific examples.

* Monitor the receiving of feedback, ensuring it is acknowledged
but that it is not automatically accepted. (Replying is OK.)

* Encourage everyone to think of themselves as givers of feedback
and encourage them to 'look around' with the likely (but unasked
for) consequence that people will tend to give more feedback to
those who rate themselves relatively low.

IN MORE DETAIL

* One of the most important requirements for Spokes is to have
a suitable set of questions. You can generate these with the
group either before the activity or at the start of the review by
asking 'What will (or did) you each need to do in order to
achieve this task successfully?' The answers to this question
become the questions for Spokes.

* When Spokes moves from self-evaluation to positive feedback,
encourage those giving positive feedback to be as specific as
possible (but take care not to raise the bar so high that people
are discouraged from making invitations).

* Be aware that missing out on positive feedback is not a
positive experience, so look out for those who regularly stay on
the outside and try to include them more by asking everyone to
'look around' while thinking about who deserves to be rated
higher. Or ask people to come up with a new question for self
assessment that would allow those 'further out' to move 'further
in'.


6. Brief Encounters

WHAT DO YOU DO?

IN A NUTSHELL: BE PREPARED, BE WELCOMING, BE FOCUSED

* Double check the questions and the briefing and think where it
could go wrong. The worst time for a participant to feel alone or
'on the spot' is in the early stages of an open event, so ensure
that any potentially unsuitable questions that people will be
asking each other are weeded out, and also that people know what
to do if faced with a question they do not wish to answer.

IN MORE DETAIL

* Brief Encounters is easy to set up and manage. As it is
usually used as an early exercise to raise energy and focus for
everyone, ensure that a pool of alternative question cards are
readily available.

* If using it as a welcoming event while latecomers are still
on their way, ensure you are at the entrance to welcome and brief
people as they arrive.

* If using the blank card version, it is better to have people
first generate ideas for questions in small groups, rather than
have individuals struggle to come up with a question before they
are warmed up or tuned in. Much better is to be well prepared and
have plenty of suitable event-specific, ready-made question
cards.


7. Simultaneous Survey

WHAT DO YOU DO?

IN A NUTSHELL: CALCULATE PRECISELY HOW LONG EACH STAGE WILL TAKE

* Unless there is plenty of time and 'you finish when you finish'
announce the times for each stage and keep your eye on the clock.

* If the report back is intended to kick start discussions then
your gaze will move from the clock to the participants and your
priority becomes the facilitation of a good discussion.

IN MORE DETAIL

* Do the maths. Work out how many survey questions would suit
the group size and the time available. Allow for things taking a
little longer so that the sharing stage does not finish in a
rush. If you want to have discussion arising from the sharing
stage, allow even more time.

* With big groups, or when there are lots of questions, the
collation of results and reporting back can become a slow
process, so consider alternative means of sharing such as a
poster exhibition.

* Remember that people can get upset if their own views are not
represented in the final report back. So always ask something
like 'Does anyone feel that their views or ideas did not make it
through to the summary?'


8. Empathy Test

WHAT DO YOU DO?

IN A NUTSHELL: ASK THE BEST POSSIBLE QUESTIONS

* Prepare more questions than you will need, select the questions
that you think will be most effective and keep the best of the
rest as reserve questions.

IN MORE DETAIL

* It is a simple concept that can take a while to brief. So
consider using a demonstration with two volunteers to add clarity
and save time.

* Remember to say something like 'However good your guessing,
there will always be something to talk about' - because the real
purpose is for people to have a conversation that is stimulated
by the guessing part of the exercise - so that they end up
knowing each other better, whatever their starting point.

* As always, a good set of questions helps. Questions should be
specific to the event being reviewed, should mostly be linked to
goals, and should also take people into new territory.


9. Missing Person

WHAT DO YOU DO?

IN A NUTSHELL: HOPE IT GOES RIGHT BUT LET IT GO WRONG

* Be flexible! Although this is a reviewing task some groups may
find it more challenging than the activities you are reviewing.
So if the group do not cope well with the challenge, you can
treat it as a significant group experience that you can now
review in some other way. (With younger groups you may want to be
more helpful.)

IN MORE DETAIL

* Some groups may find this a bit strange, so be clear about
why you think this exercise will be useful and relevant for them
- but without selling it too hard or promising benefits that are
not guaranteed. For example: 'This exercise tackles team
development in three ways: by looking at your past as a team, by
looking at your future needs as a team, and working together to
create a new person is itself a team exercise'.

* Being a creative exercise, it can take off in many different
directions, including apparently disastrous ones. If the exercise
happens to lead to conflict in the group, the exercise can become
a significant group experience that you will want to review in
some other way. Avoid defending the exercise or challenging
people directly unless you are making a deliberate choice to
become a 'teacher' at this point, rather than maintaining your
more neutral role as a facilitator.

* If it all goes well, you need to treat the 'new person' with
respect rather than making fun of them or thoughtlessly putting
them in the bin. Whether the group feel proud or dissatisfied
with the person they have created, you can add value by asking
them which features of the new person will be of greatest value
in the next exercise/event - thus reminding them of the purpose.


10. Horseshoe

WHAT DO YOU DO?

IN A NUTSHELL: ENJOY FACILITATING FOCUSED DISCUSSION

* Once everyone is standing in a position on the scale that
represents their point of view, everyone can see each other's
'position' which makes it easier for you and others to bring
individuals or subgroups into the discussion.

IN MORE DETAIL

* There is plenty of scope to play a significant facilitation
role in Horseshoe. You have a lot to pay attention to - mostly to
keep everyone involved throughout the whole process. This means
moving to and fro between paired discussion and whole group
discussion, while also ensuring that this 'active' method does
not keep people on their feet so long that the discomfort is
getting in the way.

* Experience with using Horseshoe alerts you to predictable
patterns to look out for. For example, attention usually turns
first to those with the most extreme views on the issue, so
ensure that the more balanced views from other parts of the
spectrum are included.

* Horseshoe combines well with Turntable, especially when you
are discussing a significant issue where people have a lot they
want to say. Be ready to introduce Turntable - which has the
added merit of allowing people to be seated for most of the time.


REVIEWING FOR NEWCOMERS
For more information about the 10 methods listed just above see:
http://reviewing.co.uk/archives/art/9_4.htm#2v


'WHAT DO FACILITATORS DO?' - LINKS TO MORE ANSWERS

> TURNTAKING IN GROUP REVIEWS
How to share out opportunities and involve everyone.
http://reviewing.co.uk/articles/turntaking.htm

> THE ART OF REVIEWING
http://reviewing.co.uk/articles/the.art.of.reviewing.htm

> PEACE AND CONFLICT RESOLUTION
You may have been trained to be neutral and distanced and non-
directive so that you retain the freedom and independence of
being an objective outsider. Such advice usually applies to a
different kind of facilitation where there is a vibrant conflict
to resolve. If this describes your role, you may like to look up
an earlier article on Peace and Conflict Resolution at:
http://reviewing.co.uk/archives/art/10_2.htm

> THE ROLE OF THE FACILITATOR
See the section ~ 5 ~ below for an extract from John Heron's
Complete Facilitator's Manual about what facilitators do..

~ 3 ~ ACTIVE LEARNING MANUAL:
HOW TO SAVE MONEY WITH A CAMERA 
The Active Learning Manual is a pilot project using video to
demonstrate active learning methods. You can view my introductory
video and three one minute videos
- Action Replay
- Moving Stones
- Talking Knot
at <http://www.activelearningmanual.com>

I am interested in making or collecting further short videos of a
similar quality add to the Active Learning Manual collection. If
you already have (or wish to make) suitable videos please write
to me at: roger@reviewing.co.uk

4 ~  ACTIVE LEARNING BOOKSHOP: NEW BOOKS

NEW BOOKS @ http://reviewing.co.uk/reviews/new.htm

Roger's Active Learning Bookshop has raised £1,776 for
Save the Children since January 2006. Thank you for your
purchases.

Do ALL your Amazon shopping (not just books) via
<http://reviewing.co.uk/reviews> and not only do YOU get a good
deal, so do CHILDREN around the world who need our help. I worked
for Save the Children for 4 years so I know about the value and
quality of the work they do. Please support them by buying your
books (and any other Amazon goods) via ROGER'S ACTIVE LEARNING
BOOKSHOP at: <http://reviewing.co.uk/reviews>

See my review of OBLIQUITY in section 7 below.

~ 5 ~ ARCHIVE: THE ROLE OF THE FACILITATOR

[To translate this page find the 'Select Language' box.]

A summary of John Heron's model about what facilitators do ...
(from http://reviewing.co.uk/archives/art/9_2.htm)

Most experiential learning theory is clear about what learners do
after their ''experience'': they reflect, interpret, and
experiment. But experiential learning theory is less clear about
what role (if any) facilitators should play in this process. The
principles, strategies, and tactics of facilitation cannot be
deduced from experiential learning theory alone: We also need a
theory of facilitation. And preferably one that goes beyond the
slogan that we should change from being the ''sage on the stage''
to become the ''guide on the side'' - because ''guiding'' is only
one kind of facilitation.

John Heron, founder and director of the Human Potential Research
Project, University of Surrey, provides a model of facilitation
that sits well with the principles of experiential learning
theory. It helps facilitators decide whether key decisions about
facilitation should be made with or without consulting the group,
or whether they should be left to the group to decide. Heron
outlines potential problems with each of these three modes of
decision making (hierarchical. cooperative, and autonomous), and
he explains why it is important to move between them:

''Too much hierarchical control, and participants become passive
and dependent or hostile and resistant. They wane in self-
direction, which is the core of all learning. Too much
cooperative guidance may degenerate into a subtle kind of
nurturing oppression, and may deny the group the benefits of
totally autonomous learning. Too much autonomy for participants
and laissez-faire on your part, and they may wallow in ignorance,
misconception, and chaos.'' (Heron, 1999, p. 9)

Heron applies these three modes of decision making to each of
these six dimensions of facilitator style: planning, meaning,
confronting, feeling, structuring, and valuing.

As an example of how this works, here is some further detail
about the ''meaning'' dimension.

When in HIERARCHICAL mode in the meaning dimension, Heron writes:
''You make sense of what is going on for the group. You give
meaning to events and illuminate them; you are the source of
understanding what is going on.''

In the COOPERATIVE mode: ''You invite group members to
participate with you in the generation of understanding. You
prompt them to give their own meaning to what is happening in the
group, then add your view, as one idea among others, and
collaborate in making sense.''

In the AUTONOMOUS mode, writes Heron: ''You choose to delegate
interpretation, feedback, and review to the group. Making sense
of what is going on is autonomous, entirely self-generated within
the group'' (Heron, 1999, p. 16).

An awareness of Heron’s model discourages the facilitator from
settling down in a single favorite position for too long because
the model shows that there are clear disadvantages with this kind
of consistency. A facilitator who makes deliberate moves among
these three modes of decision making also frees up learners to be
more mobile and responsible in how they exercise and share power.
Such mobility helps to make debriefing and learning more dynamic,
versatile, and effective.

Extract from Roger Greenaway's chapter on Dynamic Debriefing in
the 'Handbook of Experiential Learning' (Silberman, April 2007)
(See: http://reviewing.co.uk/reviews/experiential-learning.htm)

~ 6 ~ EVENTS: Reviewing and Facilitation Skills Training

If you are a provider of facilitation training, please send me
the details if you would like the details included in future
issues of Active Reviewing Tips.

25-26th January, 2011
SEEd is running the popular course
Facilitation for Learning for Sustainability
http://digbig.com/5bdbxh

3rd February 2011
Making the Most of MTa Materials
Leeds / Bradford, M62 J26
MTa workshops are experiential learning in action. They are a
dynamic mixture of activities, thinking and discussions with
minimal theoretical input. So join us, have some fun and learn!
http://digbig.com/5bdbxe

4th February 2011
METALOG® training tools Workshop
London
METALOG® training tools are multifaceted interaction activities
and learning projects for indoor and outdoor use
http://www.metalogtools.co.uk/en_gb/workshops/

14-15 February 2011
with Roger Greenaway, hosted by Sino Associates
Luohu, Shenzhen, China
How to facilitate learning from experience
Details: http://www.sino-associates.com

16-17 February 2011
with Roger Greenaway, hosted by Sino Associates
Luohu, Shenzhen, China
How to transfer learning and give your training lasting impact
Details: http://www.sino-associates.com

5-6 March, 2011
Annual Festival of Outdoor Learning
An extensive and varied programme of workshops for anyone working
in the outdoors
Hollowford Centre
enquiries@hollowford org
http://www.hollowford.org

15-16th March 2011
Active Reviewing
the key role that reviewing plays in Outdoor Learning
with Roger Greenaway, Reviewing Skills Training
The Wembworthy Centre, Chulmleigh, Mid-Devon
More details: Phil Berry, IOL South West
http://digbig.com/5bdctw


REVIEWING SKILLS TRAINING WORKSHOPS
If you would like to host an open event or arrange for an in-
house customised trainer-training programme please get in touch.
Write to: <roger@reviewing.co.uk>

Or view the sample training workshops at
http://reviewing.co.uk/trainingworkshops.htm


~ 7 ~ LINKS: BOOK REVIEW: OBLIQUITY 

bliquity: Why our goals are best achieved indirectly
Author: John Kay
Publisher: Profile Books, 2010
Available at Amazon: http://digbig.com/5bddrd
Reviewed by Roger Greenaway

New Year goal setting rituals don't work for everyone.
'Obliquity' explains why. John Kay does not write about getting
fit or losing weight, but he does explain why taking the direct
route to happiness and wealth (or anywhere else) often fails.

Obliquity appealed to me because I know people who struggle with
setting goals and targets, and yet they are 'achievers'. So there
must be less direct (and possibly much better) ways of achieving.
Maybe different people simply use different strategies. But
'Obliquity' is far more interesting than this. It helps us
understand why target setting destabilises or even destroys the
very systems that are needed to achieve the targets. John Kay's
primary perspective is economics, but he helps us see the same
phenomena in many other spheres of human activity.

Obliquity kept bringing to mind those folktales where the main
character is given three wishes and wastes the first two (and
sometimes all three) because the goal is stated too narrowly. The
moral of these tales is usually that it is not good to be greedy.
But John Kay's version would be that however greedy or altruistic
the goal, the direct route is likely to fail.

'Very rarely does a brilliant idea emerge that is brand new'
reads the cover, but inside John Kay acknowledges many sources
and ideas 'some of which have been around for millenia'. So it is
not 'brand new' but it does provide a highly readable way in to
systems thinking.

The Obliquity thesis is itself quite oblique and elusive: it
seems strong on examples but short on logic. At its simplest, the
logic at first seems to be, if you want A head for B or C (but
not for X, Y or Z because they are too far away from what you
really want). But then the logic slips into something like this:
if you really want A, then find a B (a neighbouring goal) that
you want even more than A. And while prioritising B, you stand a
better chance of achieving A than you would if your were
prioritising A. John Kay has many examples to illustrate this.
But what if you apply the same argument to B? Would you stand a
better chance of achieving B if you were to identify a C that you
want more than a B? And so on, and so on.

This kind of logic could lead to ever 'higher' goals and it could
eventually lead to mapping and understanding the whole system.
But Kay prefers that we get going now and work things out as we
go along because we are intervening in a dynamic evolving system
and because our values, insights and goals may themselves change
during our journey.

Many of Kay's examples would align closely with the morality of
three wishes folk tales: greed does not pay. But there are
sufficient other examples to show that Obliquity is primarily
about working wisely and effectively in complex systems. In which
case I should be praising John Kay for bringing clarity (and
useful insights) to complexity, rather than criticising him for
not bringing even greater clarity.

The original article from which book was developed is at
http://www.johnkay.com/2004/01/17/obliquity

At http://www.johnkay.com you will find this useful summary of
Obliquity:

If you want to go in one direction, the best route may involve
going in another. This is the concept of ‘obliquity’: paradoxical
as it sounds, many goals are more likely to be achieved when
pursued indirectly. Whether overcoming geographical obstacles,
winning decisive battles or meeting sales targets, history shows
that oblique approaches are the most successful, especially in
difficult terrain.

Obliquity is necessary because we live in an world of uncertainty
and complexity; the problems we encounter aren’t always clear -
and we often can’t pinpoint what our goals are anyway;
circumstances change; people change - and are infuriatingly hard
to predict; and direct approaches are often arrogant and
unimaginative.

~ 8 ~ PREVIOUS AND NEXT ISSUE OF ACTIVE REVIEWING TIPS

LAST ISSUE: ENGAGING PARTICIPANTS IN REVIEWING
is now at:
http://reviewing.co.uk/archives/art/12_2.htm

NEXT ISSUE: FACILITATIVE FRAMEWORKS
Practical tips about the kinds of frameworks that support
reflective learning.

FUTURE ISSUES
Future issues will include:
  • REAL REVIEWING - as opposed to superficial or cliched reviewing
  • DESIGNING A REVIEWING STRATEGY for a whole programme
  • REMOTE REVIEWING - when the facilitator is at least one remove from the 'reviewing action'
Please let me know what you would like to see in a future
issue of Active Reviewing Tips. Or perhaps you have an article or
paragaph or tip you would like to submit?

~ 9 ~ WHAT'S NEW IN THE GUIDE TO ACTIVE REVIEWING

NEW EVENTS @
http://reviewing.co.uk/_news.htm

NEW BOOKS @
http://reviewing.co.uk/reviews/new.htm

CHANGES @
http://reviewing.co.uk/index.htm

~ 10 ~ About Active Reviewing Tips

EDITOR: Dr. Roger Greenaway, Reviewing Skills Training
9 Drummond Place Lane STIRLING Scotland UK FK8 2JF
Feedback, recommendations, questions: roger@reviewing.co.uk
phone (UK office hours): +44 1786 450968

SUBSCRIBE: Enter your email address at:
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The Active Reviewing Guide is at
<a href="http://reviewing.co.uk/">http://reviewing.co.uk</a>
"Your site is a 'goldmine' for lots (and lots) of people.
Thanks from all of us!" Chris Cavert

COPYRIGHT: Roger Greenaway 2011 Reviewing Skills Training

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