Facilitation Camp: Day 2


About this day

This day will focus on what it means to be a facilitator for political education groups. Drawing from day one, we’ll begin by surfacing what participants believe to be a good facilitator. We then shift to consolidating these intuitions with readings and practise to help participants conceptualise, experience and embody thinking and attitudes involved in facilitation. And then lastly, we will have a session dedicated to learning how to facilitate political discussions around films. 

Objectives for this day

At the end of this day participants should understand what makes a good facilitator, and the key principles of facilitating. They should also have an idea of how the context of different classrooms, and style of facilitation, can impact the learning space. Lastly, participants should have an understanding and some practice of the skill of facilitating discussions around films.  

Day activity sessions:

This day comprises the following activities:

Activity 1: What makes a good facilitator?

Activity 2:  The 4 Pillars of Facilitation

Activity 3:  Practicing Facilitation

Activity 1: What makes a good facilitator?

1 hour 30 minutes 

Aims:         To help us to:

  • Develop a picture of what makes a good facilitator and to do so from the basis of participants’ own thoughts and experiences 
  • Demonstrate the educational principle of starting from the basis of participants’ own thoughts and experiences and building on this in the learning process
  • Illustrate how to draw out commonalities and develop a shared idea or vision, without flattening out important differences, and by bringing in other experiences and ideas

About:        This activity draws on participants’ responses, in their camp applicationforms, to the question, “What makes a good facilitator?” These forms, with their rich responses, will be used as an educational resource in this session, and form the basis of this activity. The intention with this is to illustrate the educational principle of starting from the thoughts and experiences of participants, and building upon this through sharing and discussion among participants, and by bringing in other ideas and experiences, from outside the room, which help to deepen participants’ understanding of a particular issue – in this case, what makes a good facilitator.   

Task 1:       You will be divided into 5 groups and your camp application form will be handed back to you. 

Individually read the response you wrote to the question: what qualities do you think make a good facilitator? Based on what you have learned at the Camp thus far: 

  • Do you still agree with what you wrote? 
  • Is there anything that you would like to add or change to your answer? 

In your notebook, write down your ‘new’ response to the question.

You have 15 minutes for this task

Task 2:       Share with others in your group what you have written and together decide on 5 qualities which you think make a good facilitator.   

Write your responses on the 5 pieces of coloured card which will be handed out to your group.

You have 30 minutes for this task.

Task 3:       Each group will be asked to come forward and stick their answers on a wall/whiteboard. The first group will place their answers one below each other, on the left-hand side of the wall or whiteboard. Subsequent groups will place their answers either next to a card – if they wrote the same thing or something similar – or below the previous groups’ cards if they wrote something different.

Through this exercise, commonalities will emerge and the facilitator will draw these out. The facilitator will also ask whether you feel that anything really important ‘fell through the cracks’ and is not represented on the wall/whiteboard. They will also draw on their own knowledge, and that of other facilitators in the room, to add to the characteristics, and in this way a more complete picture or synthesis will emerge of the qualities of a good facilitator. 

The facilitator will then take some time reflect on how the activity was structured and why, emphasising the educational principle of starting with the thoughts and experiences of participants and building upon this in the learning process, as well as drawing on the other ideas and experiences.  

                  We have 45 minutes for this task

Activity 2: The 4 Pillars of Facilitation 

2 hour 15 minutes 

Aims:         To help us to:

  • Understand the 4 Pillars of Facilitation: Planning and Preparation, Power, Participation and Plurality 
  • Think about how these issues play out in educational spaces and how facilitators can carry these principles into their work. 

About:        This activitystarts with a reading on the 4 Pillars of Facilitation and then participants are asked, in groups, to illustrate how these principles manifest in educational space through a creative form of expression – a skit, a song, a hip-hop or spoken-word verse, or a story (intsomi).   

The Four Pillars of Facilitation are: 

Planning and Preparation: Lesson plans, research and content development need to be done well in advance of an educational activity. Facilitators need to know the material and their respective roles, and logistics need to be well organised. 

Power: As a facilitator, you need to be conscious of power differentials in the room – between yourself and participants, and among the participants themselves. Seek to empower others, and create a learning experience where power shifts and there is full and active participation.   

Participation: As a facilitator, it is your role to create an environment in which all participants feel welcome, safe and included. Active learning strategies, which have participants actively ‘doing’ things are highly effective in ensuring participation and learning.  

Plurality: Educational spaces are enriched by a diversity of participants, ideas and perspectives, and educational methods.  

Task 1:       You will be divided into 5 groups. In your groups, read and answer the questions in the reading, The 4 Pillars of Facilitation.  

The questions will require you to reflect on your own educational experience and think about ways in which to put 4 key principles of facilitation into practice.     

Discuss the questions as a group, but write your answers in your own notebook. 

You have 1 hour for this task

Task 2:       Your group will then be assigned one of the 4 Pillars of Facilitation to represent through a creative form of expression.   

We will hold a ‘lucky draw’ to allocate the creative forms of expression – a skit, a song, a hip-hop or spoken-word verse, or a story (intsomi). After the draw, you will have a short opportunity to ‘trade’ your choice with another group. 

In your group, prepare what you have been tasked with. e.g. a song about Power or a skit about Plurality in educational spaces. You might want to draw on personal experiences of members of the group in your presentation.    

You have 30 minutes to prepare your presentation 

Task 3:       Each group will then have 5 minutes to present, after which other participants will be allowed to give brief comments or ask questions.  

The facilitator will end the session with a recap of the 4 Pillars of Facilitation and some practical ideas, which emerged from the groups, about how to put these principles into practice in educational settings.  

We have 45 minutes for this task

Activity 3:     Practicing Facilitation 

1 hour 30 minutes 

Aims:         To help us to:

  • By playing out different roles, to understand various personalities and power relationships that appear in classrooms
  • See the various types of facilitators, how they adapt, fail and adjust according to scenarios
  • Provide participants with conscious reflection through role-play that stimulates the diverse lived experience of facilitating in contrasting environments

About:        In this activity participants will put on role-plays of different reading group sessions with Tshisimani staff also taking up the  roles of fictional Facilitators. In these performances the reading groups will feature a diverse range of personalities you tend to find in classroom settings, and each Facilitator will have a specific style and level of preparedness. 

Task 1:       In this activity you will put on a role-play in a group, pretending to be participants within a reading group discussing the topic of South African transition to democracy, with a role-playing Facilitator who will have noteworthy facilitation style

You will be separated into four groups, by numbering, led by a pre-prepared staff member who will also be acting as a ‘Facilitator’ with the group’s role-play. 

Within each group you will be handed a character card by your group’s Facilitator which describes the character you will be acting as. It will tell you the type of participant you will behave like and what their traits are. Please keep your character card secret from all others. There is no need to prepare as a group, just take some time to individually imagine your character and what they would behave like in a reading group.

You have 20 minutes to do this task

Task 2:       One group at a time, the Facilitator of your group will open the session and your group will begin its role-play. You will have to perform your role as a participant within the classroom and respond, ask questions, make contributions and interact as your character. Make sure you act out your role strongly so that it is obvious to others what your personality is like. While doing this you and the audience should take note of the dynamics in the performance and the different personalities. 

 After 5 min the first group will be asked to freeze. 

After the group is done the audience and other members of the group will be asked to analyse the performance by considering some of the questions below. Focus will be directed to certain questions based on the group performing:

  • Was it a good education space? What made it good or bad? 
  • Were there any voices that dominated? How did the facilitator respond to this? 
  • Was the space generally inclusive? What was inclusive? Were people/opinions left out? 
  • What did you notice about how the facilitator performed their role? How would you describe their facilitation style? 
  • Which participants stood out as helping to make the learning environment better? Which stood out as making it more challenging? 

The same process is repeated for the remaining groups. 

The facilitator will bring the activity to a close by highlighting the different dynamics, personalities and power relationships illustrated through the role-plays and emphasising the importance and skill of good facilitation.   

You will have 15 minutes to do this task per group (1 hour total) and the facilitator will have 10 minutes for the wrap-up

< Day 1: Facilitation

Day 3: Designing a Learning Event >