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Effective Group Facilitation in Education

Effective Group Facilitation in Education
How to Energize Meetings and Manage Difficult Groups

March 2004 | 224 pages | Corwin

Practical pointers for maximizing meetings and motivating team members!

At their worst, meetings can waste time, lack focus, foster a combative spirit, or be just plain boring. At their best, meetings can be a positive, dynamic experience that nurtures individual strengths while inspiring teamwork to successfully accomplish an established task. The fate of a meeting lies in the skill of the facilitator, and this easy-to-use guide has all the tips and tools necessary to make you shine in this challenging role.

Anyone charged with navigating a group of people toward a desired objective will benefit from this book's indispensable features, which include:

  • Templates for easy implementation at every stage of the facilitation process
  • Straightforward tactics for managing difficult participants and emotionally charged situations
  • Realistic examples to help you avoid pitfalls
  • Surefire methods for delegating in a meaningful and respectful manner

From pre-meeting preparation, to the meeting's critical first few minutes, to its conclusion and beyond, this manual provides step-by-step guidance for the entire facilitation process. It is packed with proven do's and don'ts based on psychological principles, research, real-life experience, and field-tested best practices. The user-friendly strategies focus on such key areas as team building, brainstorming, motivating, overcoming problematic situations, reaching goals, and assessing results.

About the Author
1. What am I Getting Into?
Why do We Get People Together to Meet?

When Do We Use Teams?

The Impact of a Facilitator on the Effectiveness of a Group

The Unique Position of a Group Facilitator

Internal Versus External Facilitators

Characteristics of Effective Facilitators

Your Mission as a Facilitator


2. Get Ready, Get Set...
The Importance of Planning to a Successful Session

Factors to Take Into Consideration When Planning Meetings

Breaking the Meeting Tasks Into Parts

Planning for the Effective Delivery of Directions


3. Go
Setting the Proper Tone for a Meeting

The Use of Music

Foundation-Setting Activities

Good News

The Use of Framing

Active Learning Strategies

Watching Team Member Behaviors During the Start of a Meeting

Opening the Session

Setting Norms and Ground Rules


4. Connecting All Members of the Team
Interdependence/Community and Its Importance to Team Operation


Team Building

Conflict Resolution

Conflict and Chaos

Protecting Team Members During the Decision-Making Process

Protecting Team Members When Announcing the Results of Their Decisions

Keeping Uninvolved Stakeholder Groups Informed About Decision Progress


5. Reaching Peak Performance: Connecting Their Minds
The Need to Minimize/Maximize Energy

Diagnosing Group Energy

Working/Processing Combinations

Grouping and Regrouping Strategies

Other Group Processing Strategies


6. Working the Brain
Brainstorming Techniques

Brainstorming Strategies and Ideas


7. Reaching the Goal
The Problem with Goals

Typical Issues Inhibiting Goal Implementation Success and Facilitator Implications

Other Important Considerations for Success in the Goal Process


8. Putting On Your Oxygen Mask
Important Factors for Facilitators to Track

Importance of Self-Protection

Understanding Your Role as the Group Facilitator

Use of Positive Presuppositions


Use of Charts, Papers and Other Visuals to Deflect Anger

Use of Positioning in the Room

Developing an Exit Plan

Reflect Emotions/Content Back to the Group


9. Transforming a Difficult Group
What is a Difficult Group?

Problem People

Identification Strategies

Starting a Session

Music and Difficult Groups

Foundation-Setting Activities


Use of an Agenda


Key features
  • Research based, using adult development and learning, cognitive coaching, Essential Elements of Instruction, brain and neural-linguistic studies, and power and influence
  • Includes practical strategies from the field, using experienced facilitators
  • Demonstrates how to adapt strategies to specific situations

Sample Materials & Chapters


Chapter 1: What Am I Getting Into?

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