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Facilitating group discussions
Facilitating group discussions

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1 What is facilitation?

Before considering the skills of facilitating group processes, it is important that you have a good understanding of what facilitation means. So let’s start by defining what is meant by ‘facilitation’.

Activity 1

Part One

Write down your understanding of what facilitation means. Then read the discussion.

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Part Two

Discussion

Collins English Dictionary states the meaning of facilitation as:

  • ‘To assist the progress of…’
  • ‘To make easier…’

A facilitator is someone who assists the progress of individuals or groups, making processes easier. A facilitator helps individuals and groups to achieve their goals – that is, the goals set by the individuals or groups, not by the facilitator.

The facilitator can help:

  • in the process of team formation
  • groups to clarify their goals
  • by assisting the progress of groups as they work together
  • groups to resolve conflict and dissent
  • in the group’s review of its performance.

What you want to gain from this course

Before you start, you may find it helpful to think about what you wish to gain from studying this course and how you can use facilitation within your role.

Activity 2

Write your thoughts in this box.

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So now you have a definition and a general overview of facilitation. But what does a facilitator actually do? What is their role and responsibility?