Bruised guide to facilitation

I got a great email last week from my friend Kay Scorah, which I thought I’d share here verbatim.

This week, I have been on a contact improvisation course with Wolfgang Hoffman. (Amongst other credits, co-founder of Fabrik Potsdam dance company). It has been an absolutely delightful and extraordinary experience, and one that I find hard to express in words. But here are 2 things that I have realised.

For me….

1) …a really fine teacher (or facilitator) is not attached to a programme, a structure or even an idea of their own role. A really fine teacher dances with the class. (Both literally and figuratively in the case of Wolfgang. )They change according the abilities of the least and the most talented student. They stop and pause, taking the time to think about what’s best to do next. They try things, and if those things don’t work, they try something else. In summary, a really fine teacher is learning all the time, and makes that learning visible.

2) …there is a huge difference between asking for feedback THROUGHOUT a session or a course, and asking for feedback at the end. Asking for feedback on an ongoing basis gives you a chance to act on that feedback to the benefit of the people in the room. It lets the group know that you are serious about helping THEM. Asking at the end is only going to help the next group, or the teacher. If we call ourselves improvisers, we should be able to take the feedback and do something about it right then and there. Also, asking for SPECIFICS in feedback is essential if you are serious about using it.

Makes sense to me!

Note for geeks: Blogged from 11,000 metres over Western Australia courtesy of Singapore Airlines’ onboard wifi.

4 thoughts on “Bruised guide to facilitation

  1. Sue Pelletier

    One of the best meetings I ever attended “took our temperature” regularly as the meeting progressed, and shifted everything from the format, to the content, to the actual temperature of the room according to our responses. It was an amazing meeting because we participants really felt that it was our meeting, not the facilitator’s or faculty members. It was, as your friend so beautifully put, a dance, and there were no wallflowers.

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  2. Jillaine Smith

    Thanks, Kay Scorah, for the wonderful connection between contact improv and facilitation– two things I love but would never have connected! And thanks Johnnie Moore for posting her message! I stumbled across this through del.icio.us (which I’ve just started using) and was thrilled to find it!

    Reply

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