quality reviewing does not always depend on the presence of a
facilitator. These tips will help you to help participants use their
Roger Greenaway's Active Reviewing Tips 14.2 ~ ISSN 1465-8046
A free monthly publication from Reviewing Skills Training
ARTips 14.2 Reviewing without a Facilitator
~ 1 ~ EDITORIAL: Gone Away - back in half an hour
~ 2 ~ The Art of Not Being There: Reviewing without a Facilitator
~ 3 ~ RESOURCE: Appraisal and Feedback Exercises
~ 4 ~ ACTIVE LEARNING BOOKSHOP
~ 5 ~ ARCHIVE: 18 Active Feedback Exercises
~ 6 ~ EVENTS: May - June 2012
~ 8 ~ LAST ISSUE and FUTURE ISSUES
~ 9 ~ About Active Reviewing Tips
EDITORIAL: GONE AWAY - BACK IN HALF AN HOUR
I remember doing a double take as I walked past the window of a
seminar room just half an hour into the start of a training
programme. It was like a scene from Star Trek: the group were
stood at the window as if steering their spacecraft through some
intergalactic hazard. I checked later and this is exactly what
they were doing.
The group facilitator had greeted them in a hurry, apologised
that he needed to be somewhere else for half an hour, and asked
them to turn the room into the Starship Enterprise while he was
gone. And they did - very convincingly!
It may not have been a very 'professional' start to the
programme, but I do remember thinking that this group had
probably got off to a much quicker start than any of the other
groups - who were probably still on a round of introductions.
I am not recommending taking such a high risk at the very start
of a programme - but I was impressed by how much this group had
achieved in the absence of their facilitator.
Starship Enterprise was an impromptu group building activity. But
could the same principle apply to a review? Would you ever leave
the group to review without the benefit of your facilitation?
If you are a regular reader of Active Reviewing Tips - or as
regular as publication allows ;-) - you may feel that you want to
spend every available minute working face to face with the group.
This week's tips article is about exceptions when it may be
better to go away for half an hour. Tips about 'how to be absent'
or 'the art of not being there'. Enjoy an extra coffee break.
PS If you like this issue, please tell others.
If you can suggest improvements please tell me.
If you tweet, you can now follow @roger_review on Twitter
~ THE ART OF NOT BEING THERE:
REVIEWING WITHOUT A FACILITATOR
Good quality reviewing does not always depend on the presence of
a facilitator: there are a number of situations in which
INDEPENDENT REVIEWING is a useful alternative. These situations
* where a group is becoming too dependent on the facilitator
* where there is so much going on in a group that people need to
take time out to reflect on their own, with learning buddies, or
in smaller groups
* where whole group dynamics are not conducive to reviewing in
the whole group and you judge that smaller independent groups
would produce a higher quality of reviewing. (This strategy may
also help to create a better climate for whole group reviewing.)
* in order to complete journals, diaries, logbooks, or
* where you run out of time and ask participants to complete a
reviewing task before they next meet with you
* where participants are being trained to take more
responsibility for facilitating their own reviews
* where 'empowerment' or 'developing learning skills' are
* where there is a need to review in subgroups but there are not
enough staff to go round
* when the facilitator needs a break, or has run out of ideas!
A BREAK FROM ROUTINE
A common pattern in experiential programmes is for independent
tasks to be followed by facilitated reviews. This common pattern
makes a lot of sense, but it is not the only way of structuring a
programme. It makes sense for most reviews to be facilitated, but
why not make an occasional change of routine that gives
participants more responsibility for their own learning?
INDEPENDENT REVIEW TASKS
In the review tasks described below, the way in which the end
product is produced is mostly left to the group's discretion. You
can ask the group to produce something within a specified time,
or you can ask them to keep working until the review task is
1 ACTION POINTS
List the five most surprising things that happened during the
last activity; list five aspects of teamwork which were
particularly good; and list five ACTION POINTS for the group
which will help you to improve the quality of your teamwork.
2 ACTION REPLAYS
Practise two ACTION REPLAYS: one which highlights what went well,
and one which highlights what didn't go well. Incorporate these
into a five minute performance on the theme of 'Past and Future'
which ends with a 'preview' of the next activity - going well!
With these materials, make a collage/sculpture/junk model
about the last activity, showing a mixture of 'obvious' and 'not-
so-obvious' experiences associated with the activity.
4 GROUP POEM
Using six blank cards, each individual writes down three words
and three phrases about the previous activity. As a group arrange
all of these words and phrases together to produce a group poem
about the activity (using a few extra words if needed).
5 GROUP SONG
Write and perform a song about the last activity which mentions
and involves everyone in the group. Agree a theme that is related
to the course objectives and require that there is consensus
about the words of the song before it is performed.
6 NEWS REPORT
produce a front page newspaper story, a RADIO NEWS item (live or
recorded), or a VIDEO (or ACTION REPLAY) about the last activity.
In large groups you can ask for more than one product. The news
angle can be determined by the style of presentation associated
with different media and/or linked to course objectives.
Questionnaires relating to the previous activity are handed out
to each person, and are completed individually. The notes made
during this individual review exercise are then used as notes for
a review discussion. The reviewer should have announced at the
start if individuals will be asked to read out any of their
8 REVIEW DISCUSSION (PREPARATION)
In a group of ten people, the group agree a five part agenda for
reviewing the activity, and then divide into five pairs, with
each pair choosing to lead one item on the agenda. Each pair then
has (say) five minutes preparation time.
9 REVIEW DISCUSSION (OBSERVED BY FACILITATOR)
The group prepare for a review discussion which will take place
in your presence. You describe your own role clearly - which may
be "to observe and record, but unlikely to intervene". At a
suitable point, such as 'half-time' or at the end, you provide
feedback on the review process.
10 FACILITATOR COACHING
You help a participant prepare for facilitating a review
discussion which you observe. After the discussion you ask for
feedback from the group to the participant who took the role of
Of course, it would be very difficult to give feedback to a
facilitator who has decided to apply the art of not being there!
'Not being there' is an occasional tactic and is not recommended
as a whole course strategy especially for someone who has spent
time reading Active Reviewing Tips and is looking for
opportunities to try them out.
~ RESOURCE: APPRAISAL and FEEDBACK EXERCISES
Many feedback methods depend on the giver of feedback thinking
about the messages they wish to communicate and how they will
communicate them. (This is especially true for the making of
GIFTS.) Other methods require the receiver of feedback to think
carefully about the questions they wish to ask in order to get
the feedback they want. (This is especially true for WARM SEAT.)
~ ACTIVE LEARNING BOOKSHOP
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
~ ARCHIVE: 18 ACTIVE FEEDBACK EXERCISES
~ FACILITATION TRAINING 2012
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.
For the latest listing see: http://reviewing.co.uk/experiential-CPD-training-calendar.htm
DISCLAIMER: READER BEWARE
I do not guarantee anything about the quality
(or even the existence of!) events advertised in this message.
You are advised to make your own judgements about quality and
authenticity of any events listed above.
For the full Experiential-CPD Calendar see:
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
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: <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Or view the sample training workshops at
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~ LAST ISSUE AND FUTURE ISSUES
Reviewing with Cards: 8 Methods
Topics under considerations for future issues:
* Reviewing as a takeaway skill for participants
* Evaluating Active Reviewing: how well does it work?
* Reviewing for different outcomes (using the same activities)
* Reviewing for teachers and lecturers
* Reviewing for consultants
* Reviewing one-to-one
* End of programme reviews
* Co-facilitating reviews
* The art of improvising
* Remote Reviewing
* Readers' Questions about Reviewing
* Sample designs for learning and development
* Integrated practice in experiential learning
(when does an activity become a review? when does a review become
an activity? examples of integrated practice - and do these
challenge or demonstrate experiential learning theory?)
Please let me know what you would like to see in a future issue
of Active Reviewing Tips - whether from the above list or on
another reviewing topic that matters to you.
If you like this issue, please tell others. If you want to suggest improvements please tell me: firstname.lastname@example.org
9 ~ About Active
EDITOR: Dr. Roger Greenaway, Reviewing Skills Training
9 Drummond Place Lane STIRLING Scotland UK FK8 2JF
Feedback, recommendations, questions: email@example.com
phone (UK office hours): +44 1786 450968
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COPYRIGHT: Roger Greenaway 2012 Reviewing Skills Training
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