What is a Students Commission Facilitator?
A Students Commission facilitator is a guide on an incredible experience. You will assist delegates through the process that is the Commission. You will help them listen, understand, learn, contribute, lead and grow. You will be a role model, an information source, a helping hand, and a friend. Sound like a lot?? Well it is, but nothing you can't handle! The key to success as a facilitator is caring about the people around you and being a positive force for them.
What is the role of Students Commission Facilitator?
- impart the philosophy of the Students Commission at all times hrough conversation, action, and leadership
- the Students Commission is a community and certain things, like respect, honour, and responsibility, can be expected in a community. Leading by example is the best way to develop it.
- to create a full experience for the delegates
- assist the delegates in getting settled in, orientation, scheduling, answer questions and point out the activities they can participate in outside the discussion groups.
- to facilitate the discussion groups
- guide the delegates through the process of dialogue, provoke thought, encourage participation, and focus ideas into recommendations. Also, maintain the bilingual aspect of the group.
- to be a friend
- for many people this is a new experience. Be available to listen, interact, make them feel included and valuable. You can
- re-inforce their discoveries, build their self confidence, and encourage their skill development
- to accomplish the organizational tasks
- there are important tasks that need to be attended to in order to keep the Students Commission flowing. Facilitators will have some responsibilities like making sure notes are taken during the break out groups, wake up calls and safe checks at night, getting the recommendations to the report room, and working with the staff.
What does it look like?
You will be facilitating break out small groups of delegates. These groups will remain the same through out the Asia Connects. You will meet after each topic forum to talk about the issues and develop recommendations.
What affects communication?
lack of information
freedom of expression
What are the things that encourage the aids?
- Attending Behaviour
- Active Listening
- Body Language
This means "be here now" and be conscious!
It indicates that the person is physically and emotionally present and builds rapport.
The following tips are a generalization and should be adapted to cultural differences.
- make eye contact
- your face is a source of feedback to the persons you are communicating with; smile, frown, show expressions of surprise, understanding, distress, comprehension.
- use your body posture. If you relax others around you will relax. Be aware of yourself. Are sitting toward the group? Are leaning forward, indicating interest? Are you distanced from everyone? Are talking when someone else is talking? Check yourself! You'll find it interesting.
- it's okay to be quiet, to use that time to think, absorb, prepare. Always count at least three seconds before you speak or respond.
- "yeah", "uh-huh", "really", "right", "oh" are all ways to express interest and concern without interrupting
- summarizing what the speaker has said indicates that you were listening, you are interested, and you validate their efforts.
Misunderstanding is a common problem in communication and listening is often the culprit. Listening is a difficult job and one we all have trouble with at different times. However, this is a key skill for the Commission because it actually involves a lot more than just hearing. There are three parts to active listening:
listening to and understanding words
listening to and understanding body language
listening to and understanding the person
Now, this is no easy task, it is actually a skill. In order to develop your skills focus on the following behaviours:
- block out everything but the person or persons you are listening to
- hear what they are saying and watch what they are doing
- always place yourself in their shoes - what are they feeling, thinking, experiencing
· take a personal inventory of yourself - during the Students Commission you will be discussing many issues that people are going to have many opinions on. This is an opportunity for you to understand other people and where they come from. That's exciting but also difficult. We all have a sense of what's important to us and if it isn't important to someone else, that can hurt. That in-turn will hurt your ability to communicate. To help, do a bit of work ahead of time and during the conference.
Before you arrive, ask yourself: what are your feelings, ideas, and expectations of the Commission? of the topics to be discussed? of the group?
During your break-out groups ask yourself: how do I feel about the speaker? about the topic? do I really want to hear what this person is saying? can I accept the feelings and attitudes of the speaker even if they are different from mine?
All of these answers will help you prepare to be a better listener and remove your ideas momentarily so you can really listen and understand someone else's.
This makes up 75% of communication. It means posture, facial expressions, tone of voice, mannerisms, and level of excitement. Be aware of the people around you and how they are acting or reacting. If people are sitting outside the circle, if someone is sitting with their back to the group, if someone is jumping around, talking loud and fast and so on it means something. The key is not to assume that it always indicates the same thing, especially in a diverse group such as the Students Commission. But being aware of it you can ask questions to uncover the reasons and possibly change the situation. For example, maybe the reason the person is sitting outside the circle is because she/he was shy to ask everyone to move out a bit. Try moving out and see what happens!
Empathy is the act of understanding by putting yourself in someone else's shoes! This is the core of the Students Commission because empathy brings respect, understanding, learning, openness, and caring.
When you interact with others always try to see things from their perspective without losing yours. Often when this happens in discussion opinions do change because everyone is in the position to learn and education can make a difference!
How to do this? Practice! Remember that people are complex! If you don't know them extremely well you don't know them or their experiences. Therefore, you should not assume anything! People are good! What you know is not necessarily what other people know! Ask questions! Strive to learn about everyone around you!
Key Concepts For Interaction
allow the other person to talk uninterrupted
think before you speak
give everyone the benefit of the doubt
speak for yourself - own what you say
always be calm
talk about one issue at a time
offer solutions and compromise
respect the other person's feeling and thoughts
always show your appreciation
set out to learn something
At all times treat others as you would want to be treated
Facilitating Break-Out Groups
-> Your job here is to:
- help the group develop an atmosphere of freedom and safety
- generate discussion and dialogue toward the goals of the day
- maximize idea development and group interchange.
- be a role model
- answer questions and give out information
- take notes
- conclude the discussion
Here are some areas to think about and concentrate on that will help achieve success. Please read this carefully and call if you have any questions!
Always be prepared
Everyone in the group belongs in the group
Create a free and supportive environment that encourages all to participate
Affirm everyone who contributes
The break out groups will meet following the topic forums. During that forum soak in all the information you can and concentrate on how to best encourage the delegates to reflect on what they heard and discuss their perspective so that the group can explore these understandings and learn from them. Think of five questions you would want to ask.
This requires dialogue. A dialogue is the exchange of ideas free from assumptions, expectations, and prejudice.
There are conditions that foster dialogue:
- an atmosphere of openness, freedom and responsibility
- deal with real issues and ideas relevant to the delegates
- appreciation of individual differences and uniqueness
- acceptance of disagreement and conflict with the desire to resolve them
- effective feed back and the use of feedback
- mutual respect and trust
- sincerity and honesty in attitudes towards communication
- a positive attitude for understanding and learning
- a willingness to admit error and allow persuasion
Create and use well thought out questions that encourage thought and comment. These are often called open-ended questions. Open-ended questions are any questions that a person cannot answer with a yes or no. For example the question "Do you think that speaker was good?" is not an open ended question but "What did you like about that speaker?" is. Ask them out loud and see which one you feel would encourage a dialogue.
Avoid telling people what you think they should have learned or thought, rather, reveal to them what you saw or what you think if they ask or if it will prompt further dialogue between delegates
Encourage everyone to respect the place they, and their co-delegates, are at in their own lives and believe that whatever they are learning at this time is valuable for them
Respect and use silences as spaces for thinking and absorbing, be still, wait and help them wait for each other
If someone questions the value of a comment or the break out group itself do not be threatened, accept it as any belief they might have, look for potential insight, ask others what they think
Use and promote active listening (see communication skills)
Watch the time
**All of these require tools and skills, you probably already have a little or a lot of both. The tools are very simple and the skills require practice. Rest assured you will get both at the Commission.
What makes a cool group????
What makes a group work???
As a facilitator you will help your break out group develop as a community and effectively accomplish the goals of the Students Commission. Here are some factors that make groups successful!
the job they have to do is clear with enough flexibility to achieve individual goals and group goals
communication is a two-way street and the delegates strive to be open, honest, and accurate
participation and leadership is distributed amoung all group members. Everyone has a role!
- controversy and conflict are seen as positive keys to learning and building understanding
- the group is seen as a whole and that is continually fostered by including everyone, offering support, affection, and trust, and encouraging
- group members evaluate how the group is going and feel free to make suggestions.
- Written and Produced by Barbara Cartwright - Generation 2000 for The Students Commission, 1995
© 1997 - TG Magazine / The Students Commission
© 1997 le magazine TG / la Commission des étudiants