…and to move them, we’ve got to be really good at it!
Let’s be clear. We don’t run meetings. We don’t do agendas or protocols. We don’t direct implementation of new programs, initiatives or roll outs. We don’t obsess over data.
We facilitate people.
As leaders of schools, teams and peers to have our intended impact on student learning, we have to support people. Effective, impactful facilitation recognizes that our core role is to shepherd people through growth and change. We skillfully use protocols to support engagement and understanding. We design agendas to navigate precious time and accomplish intentions. We choose language to frame context and deepen meaning.
Effective facilitators understand that much of what we do involves change. And change is personal. For example, one impactful move a facilitator makes is to assure that participants’ voices take the greatest precedence. The facilitator opens with a “grounding” or “connections” to assure that all voices enter into the space right away. The facilitator frames questions and processes that continue to put the participants at the forefront of the thinking, learning and doing. The old adage, “People tend to support that which they create,” guides any good facilitator in his balance between his voice and theirs. Most facilitated, collaborative work then finishes with reflection or closure that allows the final voices to be the participants’ once again.
When we recognize our role centers on people, we become more adept at impacting the lives of teachers and students both.