This weeks facilitation group focused on the school to prison pipeline. They approached the facilitation by giving each group a standard case study and assigned each group to examine the study through the lense of a different school system. The facilitation provided opportunity for critical thinking and reflection regarding how the environment significantly impacts the individual and how different school systems completely prevent or increase likelihood of going to prison. Based on the last facilitation, below is a continuation of facilitation tricks and tips.
- Use statistics to hook your group – When you begin any presentation, the first few moments are crucial to capturing participant interest and engagement. Today, the group started by sharing overarching statistics and rates relative to student demographics, law enforcement involvement in schools, among other factors. Including stats and information about the topic provides a helpful overview and allowed participants to develop a quick understanding of the topic regardless of prior knowledge.
- Case Studies are your friend. Case studies can be amazing tools to center your work. Today, the group leading our facilitation gave each group the same case study and encouraged us to examine the case study with a specific lenses/within a specific context. Each group interpreted the case study in the context of the school system they were assigned and identified both risk and protective factors for students. Having each group use the same standard case study was helpful for time because it eliminated the need for each groups explanation of the situation, circumstances, and context. The standard case study was extremely effective in demonstrating how a person can experience so many different outcomes in different environment.
- Be a facilitator that allows participants to lead the discussion. Often times, facilitation includes small group discussions. These discussions can be organic, highlight structures, or somewhere in between. As a facilitator and participant, it is often difficult to lead small group discussions because each group has different amounts of knowledge and experience on any given topic. As a visual learner, I benefit when I am given a sheet of questions to discuss and am able to choose from the questions. This allows the group to direct their conversation and also, stay on track! This can sometimes make small group discussions more organic and allow participants to cater the conversation based on their interests.
- End strong. End your facilitation by returning to your intro. By the end of a facilitation, participants and facilitators can be tired, drained, inspired, and even overwhelmed. Small conversations can become long tangents and navigating everyone’s ideas and opinions at once can be exhausting! Therefore, it is often helpful to end your facilitation by bringing the group back to the core issue, the purpose of the facilitation, and the original problem question. This gives people the opportunity to internally reflect and connect their experience during the facilitation to its original purpose.