Improving Classroom Training Through Facilitation

I have to admit that when I started to research articles about facilitation I did not

expect to find any articles so pertinent to what I am doing. As a teacher of a small

group of adults, I found it comforting, interesting and informative to find other persons,

in almost my exact situation have already been there done that. Please refer to the link

Spokan Fire Dept. I wish to share with you a few highlights that I discovered in this

article. The fact the Spokane Fire Dept. discovered that their adult learners were not

responding to traditional instructional methodology and that they were using fire

officers with no formal training really struck home with me. They hired and trained

professional facilitators until their officers gained sufficient experience. This was not a

small dept. it consisted of 134 members. David Lobdell’s paper even gave guide lines for

facilitation, that I though was worth listing here.

-Maintain enthusiasm – use a positive approach.

-Be knowledgeable of the subject – there is no set solution.

-Be able – recognize alternative approaches.

-Listen attentively to participants – be genuine.

-Support efforts of participants – there are no wrong answers.

-Keep it interesting – involve as many participants as possible, keep it moving.

-Manage the group – prevent anyone from dominating a discussion.

-Use active listening – paraphrase fro understanding.

-Use questions not statements – draw participation.

-Use open ended questions – stimulate thought.

-Keep the environment non threatening – participants must feel safe.

-Ask for benefits before barriers – put on a positive spin.

-Don’t lecture – the instruction is student centered not instructor centered.

-Summarize – provide feedback and paraphrase key points.

-Regularly evaluate progress – demonstrate movement toward objectives.

-Set time limits and stick to them.

The paper by David Lobdell listed many passages and quotes but the one that sums it

up for me was from Barr(1996) describing a “facilitator as a person who is not a judge,

teacher, or even a task leader, but rather an instrument to help people discover



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