thin a context of working with young people we may define a group as a small gathering of young people. Group work may simplistically be described as the study and application of the processes and outcomes experienced when a small group comes together. Konopka (1963) defines groupwork as a method of social work that is utilised in order to `help individuals to enhance their social functioning through purposeful group experiences, and to cope more effectively with their personal, group or community problems`. This definition shows a tradition within groupwork of helping individuals with problems.
Brown provides a modernised and more comprehensive definition of group work (1994, p. 8). He states that `groupwork provides a context in which individuals help each other; it is a method of helping groups as well as helping individuals; and it can enable individuals and groups to influence and change personal, group, organisational and community problems` (original emphasis). He goes on to distinguish between `relatively small and neighbourhood centred` work and `macro, societal and political approaches` within community work, explaining that only the former may be properly classified as groupwork.
Thus the role of groupwork can be seen as one which places emphasis on sharing of thoughts, ideas, problems and activities. 1. 2 Explain how to form and maintain a cohesive and effective group Groups, like individuals are each unique with their own experiences and expectations. However many commentators studying group development and dynamics have recognised that group development, as a generalisation, is more predictable than individual behaviour. Thus many theories of group stage development have been cultivated, some linear, others more cyclical, and it must be stressed that no definitive model of group stage development exists. Two of the most useful theories of group stage development are those discussed by Tuckman (1965), and Rogers paper on encounter groups (1967). These models, like others (for example Heap, 1977) propose that as groups develop and change they pass through stages which may be conceptualised. Tuckman’s model has been used extensively within youth work theory and practice and is an excellent model for attempting to analyse individual and group behaviour.
A brief synopsis of each stage is outlined below, with examples from personal practice. Stage 1: Forming The first stage of this group process is joining, referred to as engagement by Rogers. This phase involves significant testing, and trial and error. Initial concerns about openness and support within the group are manifested by a lack of cohesion and a difficulty in sharing thoughts, feelings and experiences with each other. An internal appraisal of group value and how each individual belongs to the group are key features of this stage.
Anxiety, isolation, inadequacy and frustration are common emotions felt by group members at this early stage In the life of a group, as well as being emotionally threatened by members of the group who are perceived to be stronger or better. Thus the group seeks to create a comfort zone in which individuals are not keen to upset the status quo for fear of alienation. Oppressive behaviour is least likely within the formation stage of a group as individuals generally look to create a comfort zone and do not wish to rock the boat.
Often frustrations will be built upon between individuals who disagree strongly, but this will generally not surface until storming begins. A knowledge and understanding of the feelings and emotions felt by group members in this stage is helpful, if not essential, to the effective structuring of a programme to work towards the desired outcome for the group. For example both the YAM and PTV groups I had experience with were set up to encourage social interaction and personal development.
Having an awareness of group stage theory enabled my colleagues and myself to structure the early encounters for the groups to be; a) fun and enjoyable – to encourage continued attendance; b) relaxed – offering the promotion of effective communication and allowing members to get to know each other a little whilst gaining in confidence and trust. To this end ice breakers, introduction and communication exercisers such as those provided by Brandes and Phillips (1979), Bond (1986), Leech and Wooster (1986) and Dearling and Armstrong (1994) were used.
As Dynes describes `[games] stimulate the imagination, make people resourceful and help develop social ability and co-operation` (Dynes, 1990). Stage 2: Storming This stage sees group members begin to confront each other as they begin to vie for roles within the group that will help them to belong and to feel valued. Thus as members begin to assert their individual personalities, the comfort of the forming stage begins to come under siege. Members experience personal, intra and inter group conflicts.
Aggression and resentment may manifest in this stage and thus if strong personalities emerge and leadership is unresponsive to group and individual needs, the situation may become destructive to the group’ s development. Indeed there is a high potential for individuals to abandon the group during this stage, as for some the pressures created by the group may become too much of a strain. The potential for oppressive behaviour is strong within the storming phase as group members vie for preferred roles and release frustrations built within the forming period.
This personal oppression should be discouraged whilst it is understood that a degree of conflict is necessary if the group is to further develop. In the YAM group this stage was represented by a rebellious streak within the young people and much of the storming was directed towards the adult leaders. Boundaries within the group were tested as the group explored how far they would be allowed to go and what they could get away with. One or two individuals in turn challenged this behaviour as they felt it was unfair and could jeopardize future activities. The PTV group’s storming phase was altogether different.
Two of the group with strong personalities began to vie for intra-group leadership. Each used their own abilities to strengthen their claim to lead the group, whilst also sabotaging and undermining the other’s efforts in an attempt to usurp the leadership role. This situation caused a degree of infighting and at one point created two sub-groups, one following each of the `pretender` leaders. It is important to be aware that conflict will take place within all groups, and if handled well this conflict can produce benefits for the group in terms of development, objective and task setting, and ultimate outcome.
Thus conflict is not inherently something to be feared or avoided. Stage 3: Norming During this stage the group begin to work more constructively together towards formal identified or informal tasks. Roles begin to develop and be allocated within the group and although these may be accepted, some members may not be comfortable with the role or roles which the have been allocated. During this stage sub-groups are likely to form in order that a supportive environment is once more created.
Acceptable and unacceptable behaviours within the group are created and reinforced and thus the `norms` for this group become fabricated. The storming and norming phases of group development are inextricably linked, as it is often through the storming and challenging that acceptable group norms become set. It is important that a youth worker works hard during this stage to ensure oppression against individuals within the group do not become the acceptable norm, as then all group members will oppress these individuals.
Thus, individual oppressions must be challenged and emphasis placed on challenging attitudes and opinions but not group members. The YAM group settled into group norms quite quickly, however some of the roles that were adopted were challenged by the co-leaders as they were seen to be obstructive to the group and individual’s objectives. One young person (J. ) who was often badly behaved at school, was previously known to other group members. As these young people expected poor behaviour from J.
this was the role which he adopted. This was challenged within the group context and it was pointed out that alternatives to this behaviour were available. Stage 4: Performing This stage sees the group performing effectively with defined roles, in fact at this stage it could be said that the group has transformed into a team. It is now that decisions may be positively challenged or reinforced by the group as a whole. The discomfort of the storming and norming phases has been overcome and the group has a general feeling of unity.
This is the best stage for a group to complete tasks, assuming that task, rather than process and individuals, are the focus of the group. An excellent example of performing within the PTV group came during a residential week. One of the group (A. ) admitted to a fear of heights and thus did not want to take part in an abseiling exercise. The whole group supported this decision but offered encouragement and support in order to promote participation. One individual (M. ) spent time and energy showing leadership and helped A. to overcome his fears. A. took part in the abseil, being assisted by M. and encouraged by the whole group. Potential exists within this stage for oppression to begin if one or more group members does not appear to fit in with the group’s view of its task, or is not performing as effectively as expected. Again it is important to challenge this if it occurs and to show how each member can benefit the group, through achievement of task, leadership, reviewing, moving on, or by monitoring the groups process. Stage 5: Mourning The final stage in the life of a group ultimately is its termination.
Though often overlooked, this stage in group development is equally important to positive outcomes. The ending of a group can be a very unhappy and distressing time for some members, as they may feel some extent of dependency on the group. Garland et al. describe some of the typical responses to the ending phase as: · Denial – `forgetting` the time of the groups termination. · Regression – reverting to a less independent state of functioning. · Need expression – in the hope the group will continue. · Recapitulation – detailed recall of past experiences within the group.
Evaluation – detailed discussion on the value of the group experience. · Flight – destructive denial of any positive benefit of the group, or a positive disengagement towards other interests. Potential exists within this stage for members to be oppressed as scapegoats, that is blamed or at fault for the ending of the group. This can be minimised by constant focusing and refocusing on group end points and staged celebrations of group achievements. With the PTV group it was relatively easy to develop strategies to minimise the effects of the groups termination.
The group’s life span was structured to a tight time-scale and end point from the outset. This was reinforced by getting the group to maintain a counting down chart which was marked off each day. The end of the group was marked by a large presentation to which friends and relatives were invited. The presentation marked a clear ending for the group from day one, whilst also serving as a celebration of all the groups achievements during its existence. Thus the end did not come as a `surprise`, and was something to look forward to.
As we have seen the value of a theoretical understanding of conceptualising this group stage theory in youth work and other helping professions, lies in enabling group workers to tune into the group’s processes and respond appropriately` (Preston-Shoot, 1987) 1. 3 Explain how different facilitation styles may influence: group dynamics, lifecycle The facilitator’s role goes beyond facilitating to include understanding the dynamics of the group with which they are working. In this session we will focus on three aspects of how the individuals of the group influence the dynamics of the group as a whole.
The first area we will look at is the various Myers-Briggs personality types and how they act and influence others in team settings. The next section will address different listening styles that the facilitator may use with the team in order to be sure that the individuals in the group feel heard and therefore are encouraged to participate. We will discuss four listening styles: paraphrasing, mirroring, drawing people out and making space. As we now may better understand the individuals in the group, it may make it easier to understand what listening skills are best to use with a specific personality type.
Finally, we will also observe the individuals to discern their non-verbal messages that their body language is telling us. This may also better help us to be more aware of the dynamics of the group so that we can better facilitate the team to meet their needs. As a facilitator, one needs not only to understand the role of the facilitator and to know facilitation techniques, but also to understand group dynamics. A facilitator needs to operate on several levels at one time. Not only does one need to be listening to the content, but they also need to be engaged with the group as an observer of the individuals and the group as a whole.
Being sensitive to silent group dynamics, the facilitator can better understand the whole and be better able to move the group forward. The discussion of group dynamics can be vast. In this session we will discuss a few elements of group dynamics: Myers-Briggs personality types in teams, some listening skills that will aid your ability as a facilitator to lead the group and finally a look at some nonverbal cues that your group members may be exhibiting. Being open to facts : Expressing ideas that blend and integrate varied viewpoints Using a quiet, indirect authority: Sharing opinions and experience when asked Articulating the problem, gathering opinions, offering alternatives, summarizing, and making a decision that works: Being enthusiastic, logical and non-judgmental toward others suggestions Defining and clarifying issues, goals, problems, and purposes: Displaying high energy and commitment Being thorough, organized, and task oriented; paying close attention to pace and closure: Resolving issues one-on-one or outside the team meeting Listening to all ideas, persuading dissidents to comply, and gaining overall support for the solution: Subtly generating ideas and allowing others to pursue them Starting the process and summarizing the decisions made: Getting others excited, motivated, and energized Working to achieve consensus and closure by following the agenda and honouring time commitments:
Using persuasive arguments that take others’ feelings into account Developing the overview or “big picture”: Compromising easily unless there is a conflict with personal values Eliciting group consensus to facilitate goals and closure: Encouraging other to look at new possibilities Democratically soliciting everyone’s opinions, listening carefully, and negotiating any differences: Presenting positive alternatives for consideration Facilitating goal accomplishment through cooperation and consideration of all opinions: Calling attention to the process as well as the content Helping team define, decide on, and accomplish its purpose: persuading through clear thinking, argumentation, logic, observation, and suggestions Providing options so that decisions can be made by majority or consensus: Using logic and reason Generating ideas: questioning and critiquing various possibilities Providing models to enhance understanding and completion: Using straightforward logic Another competence that a facilitator needs to employ is the ability to use listening skills. It is extremely valuable to use these skills when brainstorming with the group.
The individuals feel that there ideas have been validated, and this in turn encourages others to participate. There are four listening skills that we will cover in this session: paraphrasing, drawing people out, mirroring and making space. Paraphrasing is repeating back to the speaker what they have said using your own words. This is especially useful in synthesizing a large amount of information. Mirroring is repeating the speaker’s exact words back to them. Some people need this kind of accuracy in order to feel heard. If the facilitator has paraphrased, but the speaker seems frustrated, mirroring may work best for this individual. Drawing people out helps those individuals who are having difficulty in getting their ideas out.
The facilitator encourages the speaker by adding open-ended questions such as, “and…”, “what do you mean by…”, “so…”. The facilitator can also ask questions of the speaker such as, “can you say more about that? ” Making space invites quiet individuals to participate. As a facilitator, you will be observing all members of the team. If you notice that there are some individuals who have not participated, or whose body language indicates that they want to participate, you can call on the individual and create an opening for them by asking if they have a thought that they would like to share with the team. Another approach is to go around the room one at a time, giving each individual a chance to participate.
The key to this approach is not to put unwanted pressure on someone to participate. Body language often speaks as loudly about how the individual is feeling as does their words. By observing the participant’s body language, the facilitator can be attentive to addressing the individual’s needs or feelings that may be unspoken. Interrupting gestures: We are trained in childhood to raise our hand in school when we want to speak. This transfers into adulthood with ear tugging, carrying the index finger to the lips, or flicking hand upwards and then let the hand fall down again. Acknowledging interrupt gestures will make the listener feel that you are a great listener.
Relaxed aggressiveness: Usually used by males – leaning back with hands behind the head. This person is in the drivers seat and sure of himself. Confidence: Steepling the fingers by matching finger tips. Research has shown that the more important an executive is, the higher he holds his hands in a steeple position. Women tend to hold the steeple position in their laps or at belt level when standing. Cooperation and attentiveness: Tilting head, leaning forward and sitting on the edge of the chair (if accompanied by other cooperative gestures. Maintaining eye contact, looking upward, resting chin on hands, and leaning back in one’s chair are signs of attentiveness 1.
Explain why it is important to be clear about the purpose and desired outcomes for the group An objective is the desired state that it is intended to achieve – the desired outcome. Objectives are defined at different levels – overall objectives (or “goals”) of the emergency programme and specific objectives (or “purposes”) of individual WHO projects that contribute to achieving the higher goals. Clarity and agreement on objectives are essential for coherent, coordinated humanitarian health action. They must be understood by all staff and easy to explain. Achieving consensus on objectives is a key sign of leadership and coordination. Objectives must be “SMART” – specific, measurable, accurate, realistic and time-bound.
Objectives may need to be reviewed and refined if there are significant changes in the situation or the resources available (including the number, interests and competencies of the health actors present), or when new information becomes available from assessment or monitoring activities. By setting the aims for each part of the training you will make it clear to participants what you are trying to do and the material you intend to cover. This will help to make the participants’ expectations of the training realistic and it will enable them to give you more accurate feedback on the training afterwards. It will help the participants to know exactly what will or will not be covered in the training event.
It is important that participants know the aims before they decide to come to training so that they can decide whether it is appropriate for them or not. This will help to reduce resentment or disaffection on the training event from participants who expected something quite different. Learning outcomes are simply the things that you want participants to have achieved by a certain point in time, probably by the end of the training event (unless you are carrying out any kind of follow-up activity). Achievements can include knowledge, skills or attitudes. Drawing up learning outcomes is important because it will help you to know that the training material you intend to present is relevant to your overall aim for the training.
It will help you to know that you are delivering material which will enable your participants to acquire the specific skills, attitudes or knowledge that they need to carry out the work that you will ask them to do. Having learning outcomes will also help you to test whether participants have achieved what you need them to achieve, so they are also a way of evaluating the training (see section 6. 2. Evaluation). Learning outcomes also make it easier for participants to assess for themselves what they have learned. When you draw up the learning outcomes, be specific. Learning outcomes should include a verb because you will expect your participants to have done something. It is important to choose the verbs in the learning outcome carefully.
For example if you are presenting participants with information about the review process you may expect them to read the information, recall it, interpret it, synthesise it, evaluate it, and so on. Think carefully about the exact wording that is needed so that participants know what you expect of them. Some examples of verbs that you might consider are given in the table in Annex 3: Verbs for learning outcomes. One way of checking whether the learning outcome will be useful for the participant’s learning and assessment of that learning is to use the familiar SMART questions: is the learning outcome Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound? But do not worry if you cannot always meet these requirements.
For example, it might be difficult to always find learning outcomes which give measurable results since some of the skills that you might wish participants to acquire will be attitudes or ‘soft’ skills: communication, empathy, gaining trust, and so on. Similarly, having a deadline for when a learning outcome should be achieved can also be problematic, since in many cases you will not know for sure that a panel member has achieved the learning outcome until they have carried out a review – and you may not be able to get feedback about that. So if some of the learning outcomes do not look too SMART it is not a serious problem! But it is worth using the questions as a check, to make sure that you have thought seriously about the wording of each learning outcome.
When you are writing learning outcomes bear the following points in mind: Make the learning outcome brief and to the point; if the learning outcome begins to take up several sentences it probably means that you have amalgamated several different outcomes and you may find it difficult to know whether each one has been covered in the training Set a target date; this will usually be by the end of the training, but bear in mind the point above, that participants may only be able to demonstrate that they have attained the learning outcome in the actual review If particular resources will be needed to attain the learning outcome make sure it is clear who will provide them and where they can be found
Make the learning outcome realistic – what can you and the participants do as a result of one training event? Make it challenging enough to be worth setting, not something that you already expect the participants can do Specify conditions under which the learning outcome must be achieved, e. g. alone or with a buddy or in a team; using a laptop or flip chart, etc. Select learning outcomes which are consistent with overall goals and values (yours, those of the participants and those of your agency/organisation); if the ethos of your agency demands politeness and collegiality do not expect participants to learn aggressive questioning behaviour! So an example of a learning outcome might be:
“By the end of the training event each panel member will be able to use four different kinds of questioning technique in a review meeting and will have practised these techniques in a mock meeting with other participants”. This is a reasonable learning outcome because it describes the precise knowledge to be acquired and the need for the participant to have used that knowledge in practice. However, in order to assess whether the trainer had addressed all of the material relevant to the learning outcome, and that the learning outcome was achieved by the participants, it would be even better to divide this into two learning outcomes. For example, “By the end of the training event each panel member will
(a)know how to use four different kinds of questioning technique in a review meeting and (b)have practised these techniques in a mock meeting with other participants”. 1. 5 Analyse the importance of participant engagement in achieving group outcomes As you consider the programme it is necessary to think about not only the presentation of the technical material (knowledge, skills, attitudes) as discussed above, but also other general sessions which will help the participants to engage with the training fully. To do this properly you need to have an understanding of who your participants are and we shall return to this. But before that we shall look at what kinds of general sessions might be useful. Introduction to the training
First, it is very important to set the scene for your training – this will help to set the kind of ethos that you want to generate in your training event. Starting off well and making sure that your participants know that you are committed to the training, and committed to enabling them to learn, will make the rest of the training go well. So do not leave this section out, even if you do not have much time. It is a particularly important section if you do not know the participants but will need to work with them in future. It helps to build up rapport and commitment in your participants and this will encourage a professional attitude in them as they go about the work of being a panel member.
The kind of elements that you might want to cover include: Introductions Introduce yourself and, if there is time, let participants introduce themselves in a plenary session. It is important to introduce yourself so that you can give a short explanation of why you are qualified to give the training – this will increase the credibility of the event. If participants are able to have the opportunity to say just a little about themselves this may help them to identify better with other participants, and be prepared to engage more fully. If it is a large group and time is short, divide the participants into small groups and let the members of each group introduce each other.
If you have the luxury of a longer training event there are many ways that you can use the opening session to help participants get to know one another and begin to feel comfortable working together. Such activities are sometimes called ‘ice-breakers’. You should ensure that any activities that you use are suitable for the audience that you are training, and are relevant to the kind of skills and information you are delivering. Many websites and publications provide examples of such activities. Some are included in Annex 2: References . Reminder of the aims of the training event It is worth making sure that the participants know what you are aiming to do in the training event.
This will help to make their expectations realistic and lessen the likelihood that participants complain that you did not give them the relevant information. You should have specified the aims before inviting participants to the training so that they know what they are getting! Learning on the event Tell the participants what you will do or provide to help them learn effectively on the event. You could encourage them to fill out a learning log or list of issues and questions that they want to think about; you may give them other kinds of handouts, such as the PowerPoint slides you are using. Emphasize that you yourself are a learning resource and so are other participants.
The point of setting ground rules for learning (see next point) is to enable everyone to learn as effectively as they can during the event, and to enjoy it too! Ground rules and confidentiality If you have time allow the participants to suggest the ground rules for the event, e. g. expecting everyone to be punctual, no use of mobile phones; openness to others’ opinions; respect for other participants; and so on. If you are short on time, give a list of the ground rules that you would like to use, and ask for any objections to them. You can modify them quickly to accommodate your participants. It is particularly important to agree a confidentiality agreement. During the training participants might swap confidential information about their organizations. The group of participants needs to agree that what is discussed in the training room is confidential, or to agree not to share sensitive information. Recap of the expected learning outcomes of the training event Again, this will help to remind participants what the event is all about and to remove any false expectations about the material that you will cover. It will also give participants a set of benchmarks against which they can evaluate their learning on the event. Outline of the training event and house-keeping announcements You should provide participants with a programme with the running order for the event. Apart from start and finish times you may wish to leave out other start times for individual sessions so that you have a chance to modify the event as you go along.
You might want to spend longer on a session that participants are finding difficult, for example, and cut down somewhere else. Also let participants know about basic house-keeping details: arrangement for emergency evacuation or fire drills; where the cloak rooms are; whether refreshments will be available all the time or just at set times. Try to reduce as much uncertainty as possible so that the participants feel at home and welcome. This is the start of good communication. Reflection, summary of the day, action planning If you have time, build opportunities into the programme for participants to think about the material you have delivered and to note any questions they have or issues they want to pursue.
If participants keep a list of these matters then you can return to them at the end of the event. You can build in a question and answer session at the end of the event, or at certain points during the event. Participants can use the list of issues and ideas that they build up for an action planning session at the end of the event. It is always useful to encourage participants to have a few specific actions that they can carry out when they go back to their workplace. This will help to transfer the learning that they have done during the event into the real world 2. 1 Evaluate methods that may be utilised in facilitating groups Mentally and physically prepare yourself as the facilitator
Mental and physical preparation is essential to get the best out of any group facilitation you undertake. Visualising yourself effectively facilitating the group before you start will ensure a successful outcome for both you and the group. Being in a positive state of mind and well rested will also help. Taking along your ‘Facilitator Tool Kit’ with everything you are likely need for the group will ensure you are prepared for any needed change in working methodology. Create the right environment We recommend plenty of space, informal seating, natural day light and tables at the side of the room for small group working where needed, as well as ensuring sufficient time has been arranged with the participants to achieve their goals.
Our facilitators toolkit will help you identify the items you may want to take with you to achieve the most appropriate environment on the day. Ensure the expected outcome/s or objectives are clear Review these with the group at the beginning of the meeting if established in advance of the meeting; or by establishing these with the group at the time. Establish expectations Ask about the expectations the participants have of you and each other, then ask them to list their hopes and concerns of the meeting; or help them to set their own ‘ground rules’ whilst working together i. e. acceptable behaviours. Energise the group throughout the meeting
Use initial introductions, ice breaker, energisers when energy levels get low, regularly changing the activity, changing participant roles, moving participants around the room where physically able and focusing their discussion with questions, statements, summaries and reflections of what you have heard or observed from the group whilst remaining neutral. You may find our tips on managing participant energy in meetings helpful. Manage participation Participant’s communication styles may vary along with their quantity of verbal contributions. Draw out the quieter participants through small group work, asking a ‘safe’ question or establishing their opinion once the topic has been initially debated. Allocate different roles to the high frequency or noisy contributors such as minute taker, time keeper, or writing on the flipchart. Ensure group work has a balance of participants with different communication styles. Adjust your facilitation style
The facilitation style needs to meet the needs of the group at different development stages. For example, a directive style of facilitation works well at the beginning of a meeting when the expectations of a new group meeting for the first time are usually for someone to take charge and take them in the right direction. However, after time when the group has settled down working effectively together, a more suggestive or consultative facilitation style would be more appropriate. Provide a variety of group working methods This helps to maintain the levels of engagement within the group, and to support different learning and communication styles, as well as helping the group achieve the best results from the meeting.
Group working methods could include but not exclusive to brainstorming/mind raining or metaplanning (individual note pads on a flipchart placed into similar categories by the participants) to generate ideas, decision making techniques, and action planning, capturing information on the flipchart or white board, small group activities and holding a group review to check progress. See further information in our tips on group working techniques. Recognise and reinforce supportive behaviours and responses Recognition helps the group to build on each other’s ideas and suggestions through your comments, questions and reflections of the group dynamics. Challenge any repetitive negative statements or behaviours either through moving the focus away from the person, changing activities (to change their mental ‘state’), reflecting their statement back to them as a question e. g. “it always happens? ” or asking the group for their view on the situation and then moving the group on.
You may find our tips on dealing with difficult behaviour helpful. Evaluate the group’s success Either by using individual or group feedback, reviewing and drawing out responsibility for the action points. Initial evaluation is always helpful at the end of the meeting, followed up with a review of how the group has progressed after an agreed period of time. To facilitate effectively, the facilitator needs to focus all of their energy and commitment to the group they are working with at the time and help the group in the most appropriate and relevant way which could involve challenging some of the group thinking or what is not being said through supportive questioning.
Above all, the most effective facilitator is one who quickly establishes and builds trust with the group through their honesty and transparency in their communications. They do not necessarily have the answer for the group they are facilitating but they hold the belief that the answer lies within the group (or their network) and uses group working methods that bring these answers and solutions out. 2. 2 Prepare an environment that is conducive to the functioning of the group Establishing an environment conducive to learning is a critical aspect of starting a training session off on the right foot. You can ensure that participants walk in to a relaxed atmosphere and an environment that is welcoming and ready. The room says you took the time to get ready for them.
You have time to greet them and welcome them to a great training session. Know when, where, what, who Just about every trainer has encountered at least one training nightmare. Some (not all) of these could be prevented by additional preparation. These questions may help you obtain the right information, but it will do you little good if you don’t write the answers in a safe place. When: When is the training? Day? Date? Time? Also, do you have enough time to prepare? Is the amount of allotted time for the amount of content adequate? Where: Where is the session? On-site or off? If off-site, is it easy to travel to the location? How do you get there?
What’s the address? Telephone number? Will you need to make travel arrangements? Is public transportation available? How do you get materials to the site? What: What kind of training is being expected? What resources are required? What kind of facilities are available? What will you need? Who: Who is the key planner? Who are the participants? How many? What’s their background? Why were you chosen to deliver the training? Who is the contact person at the training site? How do you reach that person on-site and off? Lots of question; lots of answers. Write them down. Room arrangements Your room may have significant impact on your training session.
Arrange the room to support the learning objectives and the amount of participation you will desire. Typically you will not have the opportunity to select a room. However, if you do, consider the attributes that will create the best learning environment for your participants. Size: Arrange for a room to accommodate the number of participants. Remember that a room that is too large can be as bad as one that may be too small. Training requirements: If the training session entails many small group activities, determine if there is enough space in the room. If not, arrange for additional breakout rooms to accommodate your needs. Accessible: Ensure that the room is accessible to all, including those who have limited mobility.
Location: If participants need to travel (either by foot or vehicle) to the session, the location should not pose a hardship, for example, walking in rain, or parking difficulty. Convenience: Readily accessible restrooms, telephones, snacks, lunch accommodations, and so on help ensure that participants return on time following breaks or lunch. Distractions: Select a room that is free of distractions and noise. Thin walls with a sales convention next door may not create the environment you’re trying to establish for learning. If you’re in a room with a telephone, turn the ringer off and provide an alternate number for participants who need to be available for messages. Set a message center up outside the room; sticky-back notes available for leaving messages may be adequate.
Obstructions: Select a room that is free of structures such as posts or pillars that may obstruct participants’ views. Seating: Select a location that provides comfortable, moveable chairs. Seating arrangements should further enhance the learning environment you wish to establish. Determine what’s most important for the learner. Furniture: In addition to decisions about the seating arrangements and the kind of tables you prefer, you will want a table in front of the room for your supplies and equipment. Don’t allow too much space between the table from which you will present and the front participant row. Reducing the amount of space between you and the learners increases the affect level in the room.
It closes the distance between you and the trainees both physically and emotionally. The participants feel better about you, themselves, and the training session. You may also want to consider positioning a table for refreshments in the back of the room. Located there, it can be easily serviced throughout the day. One more thing: Don’t forget the wastebasket! Usually, neither training rooms nor hotel conference rooms have wastebaskets. Remember to ask for one. Lighting: Lighting should be adequate. Dimly lit ballroom ambiance will not promote energy in a training session. Is the lighting bright enough? Is it natural lighting? If the room has windows, which direction are they facing? Can windows be darkened, if necessary?
A morning sun coming up behind your projection screen will blind the participants and wash out the image on the screen. Know where light switches are located so that you can brighten or darken the room as needed. Workable walls: Most trainers hang flipchart pages on the walls: the session objectives, small group work, and so on. Is wall space available or do windows surround the room? Does art cover the walls or are they open? Usually the front of the training room should be opposite the entrance to avoid distractions when folks come and go. Is that possible in the room you’re considering? Use markers that absolutely do not bleed through so there is no danger of ruining walls. Climate control: You will never be able to please everyone in your session.
However, if you have the ability to adjust it yourself, you can try. Determine where the thermostat is located and whether you have any control over it. Experiment with it while you set up the room. Does it respond quickly or slowly? Do you need to contact someone to make adjustments? When adjusting thermostats, make changes one degree at a time and give the equipment time to work. Large changes in the thermostat will cause a once too-cool room to become too warm. Microphone: If you have a large room or a large group or the room has poor acoustics or you have a tiny voice, you may need a microphone. Check the room to ensure it is wired for a microphone. 2.
3 Work with a group/s to agree acceptable group and individual behaviour Unacceptable behaviour is any action which is perceived to be discrimination, harassment or bullying by the recipient or any other person irrespective of the intention or motivation of the perpetrator. It is costly, counter-productive, and has a devastating effect on those involved. It drains the organisation’s productive and committed people. The essential feature of a group is that its members regard themselves as belonging to the group. A group is defined as any number of people who: • interact with one another; • are psychologically aware of one another; and • perceive themselves to be a group.
A work group is a collection of people who share most, if not all, of the following characteristics: • a definable membership; • groups consciousness; • a sense of shared purposes; • interdependence; and • ability to act in a unitary manner. In examining the behavior of people in groups, whether formal or informal, there are a number of key issues that have to be considered and these are: – 1. Group size The size of a group is one factor that can determine its likely behavior. Large groups: – • require a higher degree of formalization than smaller; • require clearer lines of communication; • tend to pay less attention to the needs of individuals than smaller groups.
• concentrate more on task requirements than personal issues; • are more susceptible to the development of such – groups than smaller groups which are likely; 2. Purpose of group Work – groups are assigned definite purpose within the organizational structure. Work – groups are often asked to focus their efforts on specific problems, usually of a short-term nature. Some groups are especially set up for this very purpose, such as task forces, working parties and project groups. Short-term tasks are usually allocated some explicit time limit 3. Nature of task The nature of the task is broadly decided in terms of the group’s purpose and objectives. A fairly specific task and outcome will demand different
quantities from the group compared with, say a generally-stated problem requiring further questions to be asked. Some types of the tasks can be: – • Ongoing or routine; • Implementing new process or procedures; • Creating new ideas; • Solving specific problems or issues; • Important negotiations with customers or competitors 2. 4 Work with a group to negotiate and agree tasks, desired outcomes and ways of working Negotiation is a method by which people settle differences. It is a process by which compromise or agreement is reached while avoiding argument. In any disagreement, individuals understandably aim to achieve the best possible outcome for their position (or perhaps an organisation they represent).
However, the principles of fairness, seeking mutual benefit and maintaining a relationship are the keys to a successful outcome. Specific forms of negotiation are used in many situations: international affairs, the legal system, government, industrial disputes or domestic relationships as examples. However, general negotiation skills can be learned and applied in a wide range of activities. Negotiation skills can be of great benefit in resolving any differences that arise between you and others. Assigning group members roles can help alleviate uncertainty about expected responsibilities and help keep the group on task such as leader, scribe, devil’s advocate, and tracking lessons learned.
Group member responsibilities include holding themselves accountable, participating in group activities to achieve the overall goal, and respecting all members of the group. Each group member has something uniquely valuable to bring to the table. Allowing group members to use their strengths and bring their individual knowledge and backgrounds to the project will allow the group to function to its full potential. 3. 1 Use a range of methods to accommodate different learning styles within the group Many people recognize that each person prefers different learning styles and techniques. Learning styles group common ways that people learn. Everyone has a mix of learning styles.
Some people may find that they have a dominant style of learning, withfar less use of the other styles. Others may find that they use different styles in different circumstances. There is no right mix. Nor are your styles fixed. You can develop ability in less dominant styles, as well as further develop styles that you already use well. Using multiple learning styles and ? multiple intelligences? for learning is a relatively new approach. This approach is one that educators have only recently started to recognize. Traditional schooling used (and continues to use) mainly linguistic and logical teaching methods. It also uses a limited range of learning and teaching techniques.
Many schools still rely on classroom and book-based teaching, much repetition, and pressured exams for reinforcement and review. A result is that we often label those who use these learning styles and techniques as bright. Those who use less favoured learning styles often find themselves in lower classes, with various not-so-complimentary labels and sometimes lower quality teaching. This can create positive and negative spirals that reinforce the belief that one is “smart” or “dumb”. By recognizing and understanding your own learning styles, you can use techniques better suited to you. This improves the speed and quality of your learning. The Seven Learning Styles
Visual (spatial):You prefer using pictures, images, and spatial understanding. Aural (auditory-musical): You prefer using sound and music. Verbal (linguistic): You prefer using words, both in speech and writing. Physical (kinesthetic): You prefer using your body, hands and sense of touch. Logical (mathematical): You prefer using logic, reasoning and systems. Social (interpersonal): You prefer to learn in groups or with other people. Solitary (intrapersonal): You prefer to work alone and use self-study. Why Learning Styles? Understand the basis of learning styles Your learning styles have more influence than you may realize. Your preferred styles guide the way you learn.
They also change the way you internally represent experiences, the way you recall information, and even the words you choose. We explore more ofthese features in this chapter. Research shows us that each learning style uses different parts of the brain. By involving more of the brain during learning, we remember more of what we learn. Researchers using brain-imaging technologies have been able to find out the key areas of thebrain responsible for each learning style. For example: Visual: The occipital lobes at the back of the brain manage the visual sense. Both the occipital and parietal lobes manage spatial orientation. Aural: The temporal lobes handle aural content. The right temporal lobe is especially important for music.
Verbal: The temporal and frontal lobes, especially two specialized areas called Broca? s and Wernicke? s areas (in the left hemisphere of these two lobes). Physical: The cerebellum and the motor cortex (at the back of the frontal lobe) handle much of our physical movement. Logical: The parietal lobes, especially the left side, drive our logical thinking. Social: The frontal and temporal lobes handle much of our social activities. The limbic system (not shown apart from the hippocampus) also influences both the social and solitary styles. The limbic system has a lot to do with emotions, moods and aggression. Solitary: The frontal and parietal lobes, and the limbic system, are also active with this style. 3.
2 Provide a group experience where participants are engaged and stimulated The most difficult and important parts of facilitating a training session is to maintain engagement in learning activities. Paticipants who become bored are more likely to act out, and less likely to enjoy learning. Their inability to focus due to a lack of interest and engagement will detract from their overall educational gains. There are specific measures you can take to ensure that you create engagement and adequately meet the needs of all of your participants. Give participants choices. When particicpants give input into their training it helps to personalize the learning experience. Accommodate all learning styles.
Participant will learn in a variety of ways including through auditory, body/kinesthetic, cognitive and visual approaches. Use teaching methods that involve all of these learning styles to help keep participants engaged. For auditory learners you might use books on tape, or songs, whereas visual learners will benefit from presentations, video interactive activities and movies. To help the body/kinesthetic learners, get participants up out of their seats and have them do activities related to the lesson. Cognitive learners will respond well to lecture and individual or group seat-work. Change lessons and activities regularly to stimulate and create engagement. 3.
3 Intervene effectively in a group session to improve the learning process If a participant isn’t performing as expected, we will change what WE’RE doing and keep doing so until we find what works. It’s really about a specific participant learning – has s/he Responded to Intervention? Have we learned what it takes … yet? So, however you’re using Response to Intervention at the moment, keep the individual participant’s performance in mind. The primary goal of assessment is to inform interventions. Assessment begins within general education and is an on-going systematic gathering of data. We need to consider the learner, the instruction, the curriculum and the environment using a problem-solving approach.
More emphasis on designing and providing individual and/or small group targeted instruction. More and earlier involvement and collaboration between general and special education professionals. Evaluating a participant’s response to effective instruction and intervention over time is a better means of assessing whether or not a student is demonstrating a learning or other disability than a traditional one-time special education evaluation 4. 1 Demonstrate inclusive practice when facilitating groups Encouraging equitable participation in the classroom: This relates to encouraging all students to participate in the classroom e. g. all students have an opportunity to speak and all contributions are acknowledged.
Helping Students feel like they belong: This builds upon the existence of a respectful environment, being proactive in making all students feel that they are equally valued and contributions are equally acknowledged. This may be as simple as remembering student names, giving all students eye contact and smiling at them. Being responsive to student diversity in the classroom: Making the curriculum inclusive, for example, by providing culturally relevant examples Respecting student diversity: This section relates to awareness and respect of student diversity with regards to nationality, culture, religion and other demographic factors such as age and class. For example, setting ground-rules about acceptable engagement in the classroom, and not asking students to be a spokesperson for their ethnic group.
This also includes examples outside of the classroom, for example, addressing cultural sensitivities by providing female students with the opportunity to see a female member of staff if preferred. Teaching small groups of students: This relates to inclusive practice for small group sessions such as tutorials, seminars and small lab classes, where there is more opportunity for interaction between the tutor and students and between fellow students. Student Group Work: This relates to students working on both formative and summative group tasks. For example, this includes consideration of how groups are allocated, student roles within groups, and how group work is assessed.
Teaching large groups of students: This typically relates to teaching students in a lecture theatre in which there is limited opportunity for staff and student interaction. For example, encouraging all students to sit together rather than being spread out across a large lecture theatre; and addressing questions to students in the middle and back rows rather than just the front rows 4. 2 Support consensus and manage conflict within a group It is commonplace for organizations today to work in teams. Whether they be leader-driven teams or self-directed teams; the hope is that productivity, creativity, and results will be greater in a team environment.
While this is a proven approach, any time you bring together people from differing backgrounds and experiences, it is inevitable that conflict will occur. Many people and organizations view conflict as a negative, or something to be avoided. Yet conflict, differences, or disagreements are a natural result of people working together. Also, without conflict, teams can become complacent and not perform at optimum levels. The challenge then becomes, how should the team be prepared for this stage of their existence, and how should the team leader facilitate through it? Functional conflict is at a level that enables a group to maximize it’s performance, and the outcomes are desirable.
However; when that conflict escalates to a level that disrupts the group and gets in the way of accomplishing its goals, then it has become dysfunctional. Managing that balance is the key to effective groups. Another way to categorize conflict is by focusing on its origin. How the conflict has evolved is clearly an indicator of whether it will help or hinder the group process. Some common sources of group conflict are listed: 1. Values of team members 2. Attitudes of team members 3. Goals/Expectations – the processes and expected outcomes 4. Roles and responsibilities of team members 5. Limited resources 6. Personalities 7. Interdependency 8. Increased interaction (frequency)
Cognitive – conflict aimed at issues, ideas, principles, or process Affective – conflict aimed at people, emotions, or values Constructive conflicts exists when… People change and grow personally from the conflict The conflict results in a solution to a problem It increase involvement of everyone affected by the conflict It builds cohesiveness among the members of the team Destructive conflicts exists when… No decision is reached and problem still exists It diverts energy away from more value-add activities It destroys the morale of the team members It polarizes or divides the team Team Member Preparation As mentioned above, teams are a powerful force in organizations.
They are assembled to tackle complex and strategic issues within a company. Often the membership is a select group of people from different departments, each with special skills or talents to solve a particular problem. However; what is often lacking is training in the core competencies of working on a team. In order for a team to be successful, it is essential that members know the basics of conflict resolution, delegation, and consensus building. Without these skills, each member must rely on whatever they’ve learned on their own, or the facilitator’s skills in moving the team through these struggles. This is not an ideal way to manage teams, and reduces the synergistic benefits of team-based activities.
If there seems to be prolonged conflict among several members of a group, then consider the following guidelines. 1. First, verify if members indeed are in conflict. Ask the members. Listen for 3 minutes. They might not be in destructive conflict, at all. Robust groups might have conflict if members feel comfortable with sharing their views. Conflict is destructive if there is ongoing disagreements, name calling and people are getting upset. So, for now, describe what behaviors you are seeing that might indicate destructive conflict. Do not try to “diagnose” the causes of those behaviors, just saw what you are seeing or hearing. Acknowledge that conflict is natural in healthy groups, but explain why you suspect that conflict has become destructive. 2.
If members are in destructive conflict, then select approaches to resolve conflict. Take a 5-minute break. Ask one or two other members (a subgroup) to step aside with you. Ask them to suggest approach(es) to address the conflict, and then read the ideas listed immediately below. Ask them which approach(es) are most likely to move things along. 3. Use the approaches selected by the subgroup, with the entire group. Explain that the approaches were selected by several of you, not by just one person. Ask that members set aside 10-15 minutes on the agenda to try them out. The more the members are in destructive conflict, the more likely they will be willing to try out the approaches. Possible Approaches to Conflict Resolution
Depending on the situation and duration of the conflict, there are a variety of approaches that might support resolution of destructive conflict. Here are some possible approaches: Focus on what members agree on, for instance by posting the mission, vision and/or values statements to remind people of why they are there. Ask members, “If this disagreement continues, where will we be? How will it hurt our organization? Have members restate their position. If it will take longer than three minutes, allow opportunities for others to confirm or question for understanding (not disagreement). Shift to prioritizing alternatives, rather than excluding all alternatives but one. Take a 10-minute break in which each member quietly reflects on what he/she can do to move the group forward.
Take 5-10 minutes and in pairs of two, each person shares with the other what he/she is confused or irritated about. One person in the pair helps the other to articulate his/her views to the larger group. Then switch roles and repeat the process. Propose an “agree to disagree” disposition. If disagreement or lack of consensus persists around an issue, have a subgroup select options and then report back to the full group. Tell stories of successes and failures in how group members operate, including how members got past their differences and reached agreement. Call for a vote on a stated question or decision. How to Help Group Members Get Unstuck
Sometimes, even if there is a lot of participation from members and no prolonged conflict, a group might not seem to be making any progress on group activities. Members may simply be stuck, for example, during planning or when needing to make a major decision. Consider a similar general process as when a group seems in prolonged conflict (listed above). You could: 1. First, verify if members indeed are stuck. Ask the members. Listen for 3 minutes. They might not be stuck, at all. Name or describe what behaviors you are seeing that might indicate they are stuck. Do not try to “diagnose” causes of those behaviors, just name what you are seeing or hearing. 2.
If members are stuck, then select approaches to move the group forward. Take a 5-minute break. Ask two other members to step aside with you. Ask them to suggest the approach(es) to move things along, and then read the ideas listed immediately below. Ask them to choose which approach(es) would be most likely to move things along. 3. Use the approaches, selected by the subgroup, with the entire group. Explain that the approaches were selected by several of you, not by just one person. Ask that members set aside 10-15 minutes on the agenda to try them out. The more the members are stuck, the more likely they will be willing to try out the approaches.
Possible Approaches to Get Unstuck Depending on the situation, there are a wide variety of actions that might be helpful in moving the group forward. Possible approaches that members can use to become unstuck include: Ask the group, “If we continue to be stuck, where will we be? How will we be hurting our organization? ” Take a five-minute break to let members do whatever they want. Resort to some movement and stretching. Ask for five examples of “out of the box” thinking. Resort to thinking and talking about activities in which resources do not matter. Play a quick game that stimulates creative thinking. Use metaphors, such as stories, myths or archetypal images.
For example, ask each person to take five minutes to draw or write a metaphor that describes his/her opinions and position in the meeting. Have each or some of the planners tell a story and include some humor. Use visualization techniques, for example, visualize reading an article about the organization’s success some years into the future. What does the article say about how the success came about? Play reflective or energizing music (depending on the situation). Restructure the group to smaller groups or move members around in the large group. Have a period of asking question after question after question (without answering necessarily). Repetition of questions, “why?
” in particular, can help to move planners into deeper levels of reflection and analysis, particularly if they do not have to carefully respond to each question. Establish a “parking lot” for outstanding or unresolved issues, and then move on to something else. Later, go back to the stuck issue. Turn the problem around by reframing the topic and/or issue. Usually, questions help this reframing happen. Ask key questions, for example, “How can we make it happen? How can we avoid it happening? ” Focus on what the group agrees on, for instance by posting the mission, vision and/or values statements to remind people of why they are there. 4. 3 Explain how to challenge excluding or discriminatory behaviour
Challenging discriminatory behaviour means not letting this behaviour happen without taking some sort of action against it. There are many ways that people can be discriminated against. They include verbal or physical abuse, exclusion, labelling or stereotyping. One of the most difficult things to do is to do something because doing nothing is actually acquiescing in the behaviour of the discriminator. That isn’t to say it is easy but if you do not speak out who is going to? If there is a victim present to whom the discriminatory remark or behaviour is addressed it is perhaps unlikely that they will confront the challenge if they believe that you will fail to support them. In particular if you are a manger you have no option but to challenge discrimination.
Challenge immediately if you can. The temptation is not to say anything or do anything there and then but that might suggest to others that you are happy with the negative behaviour or prepared to let it slide. If at all possible, and it might not be if it were to cause further offence to a victim, challenge there and then. Question someone’s motivation. One of the most successful ways of challenging in appropriate behaviour or remarks I to question the motivation of the perpetrator. Ask them questions like, “Why would you say that? ” “What evidence do you have for that assertion? ” “What are you really trying to say? ” “Why are you being so defensive?
” Take your time and step back. If a situation is becoming over=heated and people are not listening to what is being said and therefore are not hearing then slowing the pace to de-escalate the anger is often helpful. I am not suggesting taking a break because that can just at fire to the angry exchange… but slow down the speed of your conversation… take time, pause and talk quietly. Nothing de-escalates a difficult situation better than dropping the pitch and rhythm of your voice and speaking quietly because if someone else is shouting they are forced to lower their voice to hear you! If you aren’t sure with what is being said get clarification.
If you get someone to stop and reflect on the implications of what they are saying, to try to get them to consider their statement from the perspective of another, especially if it was a statement said about themselves, then all this can help to appropriate challenge someone’s negative or stereotypical thinking. “If a minority person heard you say that, what would their reaction be? ” or “If someone said that about you, how would you react? ” Question the factual accuracy of the information being used. Often individuals will make discriminatory statements such as “all X do or think this. ” It is often helpful to challenge the basis of these suppositions and discover whether there is any factual accuracy or whether it is merely a stereotypical, knee-jerk discriminatory statement. People often back down and correct themselves if they discover their arguments are flawed. Use reflection
Reflecting back to someone what is being said and using others can be very helpful – in particular use yourself as a personal reflector of what is being said. Statements such as, “I’m having some difficulty with what you’re saying” or “I can’t see your point” or “I accept that is how you think, but I find it unacceptable” Be firm Sometimes someone says something or undertakes an action which is blatantly unacceptable or discriminatory. On these occasions, if after dialogue and discussion their behaviour continues – you may have to take further action away from the incident or event. 4. 4 Demonstrate how to manage diverse group behaviours Managing diverse behaviors is one of the most common challenges in classrooms.
Without proper management techniques, teachers end up single-handedly trying to stop disruption after disruption during valuable instruction time. When this happens, you lose control of the classroom and students do not learn. Managing diverse classroom behavior goes beyond stopping inappropriate behaviors as they happen. Instead, learning why the behavior occurs and systematically managing it can help prevent chaos. Document the current behaviors. Documenting behaviors among students in your classroom will help you get a clearer picture of what behaviors are occurring and when. Document by observing the students and noting the behavior type, day and times the behavior occurs. Be sure to list the antecedent, the behavior, and the consequence of the behavior.
Use the ABC chart in the resources. Find a pattern for the behavior. Check your notes, paying attention to the precedent, antecedent and consequences, looking for a pattern of disruptive behavior. For example, check to see if the behavior occurs before lunch, after lunch, in the morning, when the student is near another student, after receiving assignments, before, during, or after teaching. This will help you determine external triggers for the behavior. The student may be hungry and cannot afford lunch, therefore acting out just before lunch or after lunch. Your student may not understand the lesson and disrupts you while you are teaching or just after you finish teaching.
Discuss behavior issues with the student. Have a conference with the student, using a calm, steady tone. Ask the student if she is having trouble understanding the lessons or feels frustrated in class. Ask the student her perception of why the behavior occurs, and problem-solve with the student. Adjust the lesson to accommodate a variety of learning styles or offer extra help to students who are struggling. Sometimes students misbehave when they feel overwhelmed. Separate students who are triggered by their peers. Create a seating chart and stick to it. Use the seating chart to check attendance, so you will know right away if a student is not in the correct seat.
Teach students to manage their individual behavior. Create behavior contracts in which students do their part to assess their own behavior and manage themselves. Model appropriate behavior, and give students a clear description of your expectations. For example, tell a student who disrupts the lesson through conversation that when you are speaking, you expect her to stop speaking. Use your presence to control talking, note-passing and sleeping. Stand near students as they become disruptive while the class is engaged in activities. Students may stop the behavior and pay attention when you are near. 4. 5 Explain when to refer issues and areas of concern
A team leader enables the other members to be innovative as well as self-directed within the capacity of individual assignments and allows them to learn from their own, as well as others’ successes, mistakes and failures. It is important to assure that each individual on the team has the opportunity to make the maximum contribution to the success of the team by doing the type of work for which s/he has the greatest opportunity for productivity and achievement. Leaders have the task of using the other team members’ diverse gifts, abilities, and skills to achieve the common goal without the unintended consequence of conforming to the characteristics the others on the team.
This requires active management by the leader to insure that diverse followers show respect and acceptance of the followers that are different in one way or another. If team members do not accept others for what they are, they will be unable to use the abilities of each team member to fill in their own weak areas. Hence, the team effort develops knowledge and skill gaps that often lead to failure. Their only goal becomes the ones on their personal agendas while ignoring the needs of the team and the organization. Creating an environment that encourages diversity enables team members to accept every individual on the team and helps them realize that it takes a variety of people to become the best.
This kind of environment also enforces the need to rely on everyone within the team, no matter how different another person may be. These characteristics and experiences make a worker unique. Diversity occurs when the whole team sees all these unique characteristics, and realizes that workers are more valuable because of their differences. If a participant is persistently attempting to disrupt the group or repeatedly offends others after this has been brought to their attention then it would be required to report these concerns to the relevant manager and action taken against the paticipant 5. 1 Work with a group to agree monitoring and review processes Observe group interactions.
You can monitor groups for potential or developing problems by observing their interactions in person or through other mediums. If you allocate class time for groups to meet, you can circulate in the classroom and observe the interactions within each group. Even if you cannot allocate class time for groups to meet, you can arrange to attend one of each group’s meetings outside of class or observe their exchanges in an online forum, such as a discussion board or wiki. In-person observations allow you to notice body language – for example, if group members are listening attentively to each other or if a group member is texting on a cell phone during a meeting.
Regardless of the medium you use to observe groups, you can pay attention to language usage (e. g. , whether group members give constructive feedback) and the quality and quantity of contributions from each group member. Require formal periodic progress reports. To monitor how effectively group members are working together on a project, require group members or a group leader to submit (in writing) or present (orally) progress reports on a regular schedule, such as every week or every two weeks. If you ask groups to report on their progress to the entire class, this gives students the opportunity to solicit and receive advice from and share resources and ideas with other groups.
However, depending on the project task, it may also lead to more convergent thinking. As part of a written progress report, consider requesting time logs for both individual and group work as one way of monitoring group members’ contributions. Require formal periodic reports on group dynamics. In addition to progress reports, you might also require reports in which students reflect on the productive and non-productive dynamics and communication practices within their groups. This helps you monitor group interactions, and it helps students develop the metacognitive skills necessary to recognize and address problems. Give feedback on group processes to groups and the class.
It is important to give groups feedback on their interactions so students know that you value how they interact with each other and, if group process is part of the project goals and assessment, how you are assessing these interactions. If you observe a problem within a group, you can address it in several ways. For example, if a group member consistently criticizes other group members’ ideas, you can suggest more constructive language. If you observe the same problem occurring in several groups, you can discuss the problem – and its possible resolutions – with the entire class. You can also meet with a group or group member outside of class if more private feedback is appropriate. Remember that giving explicit, positive feedback on group members’ interactions (e. g.
, taking turns to talk in group meetings, providing constructive feedback to each other) helps to reinforce that these behaviors are productive and appropriate. 5. 2 Implement systems and processes to monitor and review the progress of a group Staff are usually trained to take part in continuous improvement groups or quality process committees, but this training is not essential if all involved are led by a trained facilitator. Individuals are encouraged to conduct monitoring activities. They should be fully informed in the use and reasons for using particular monitoring strategies and tools. Consultation between staff responsible for establishing the hazard control implementation plan and the staff monitoring should be planned, open and friendly.
This allows everyone an opportunity to clarify the monitoring process, voice any concerns with the choice of monitoring strategies and tools and enable the people responsible for establishing the plan to check the monitoring standards. While monitoring and evaluation of results allow for short-term results and fine-tuning of the implemented control measures, the action of reviewing allows for more calculated results over a longer period of time. Review periods need to be set when establishing the implementation plan. Review periods can be set at either quarterly, bi-annually or annual installments. Alternatively, review changes can be made in incremented steps or via continuous improvement. Results from the review are calculated from the information gathered during the monitoring/evaluation phase.
This may involve reviewing collected data as well as feedback from stakeholders. All changes made and their reasons for being made need to be documented as this information may be useful for future hazard control measures or the development of the new implementation plan. Monitoring and reviewing ensures that the optimum level of workplace occupational healthy and safety is maintained within the event environment and carried out in accordance with the OHS policy, objectives and targets. More specifically it will: •aid in continued planning of hazard identification and control processes •determine areas of success •identify areas for corrective action and improvement •ascertain the viability of specific processes
•highlight areas of integration with other occupational health and safety programs. The monitoring and review process must be carried out in consultation between employer and employees. This can be done in a committee, working party or via informal discussion. However, it should be done on a regular basis 5. 3 Assess the effectiveness of a group in relation to identified outcomes The effectiveness of any training intervention is usually measured through formal evaluation. A popular model used is that of Fitzpatrick who identified the need for this evaluation to take place at four levels. First, the immediate reaction of the trainee to the training they have received is measured.
This is usually achieved through what is known colloquially as a “happy sheet” where people rate aspects of the training experience as diverse as the knowledge of the trainer and standard of handouts to the refreshments and ambience of the room. This level of evaluation, whilst seen as having a place in the overall evaluation process, is generally not thought to be of much value. It can serve to correct relatively minor problems in the training delivery and serves as a confidence booster to the trainer(s). It is also rarely utilised in on-the-job training. The second level is that of “learning” which aims to assess what the trainees actually learnt in the programme.
Measurement at this level is achieved through the use of tests or questionnaires and tends to concentrate on the aspect of retention of material rather than application. The third level seeks to determine whether the individual is applying what they have learnt when they return to the workplace. The method of measurement will depend on the type of training received. If a process was trained, such as completing certain administrative tasks, the product of the trainee can be assessed. However, if behaviour or attitude have been trained, such as dealing with customer complaints, it can be more difficult to determine the success of the training unless the trainee is questioned as their approach.
The fourth level is involved in determining whether the training intervention is having the expected impact on the organisational performance. A training need may have been identified to improve customer service and may have been well received at level one, proved to have been retained at level two, shown to have been implemented at level three, but may not result in increased satisfaction. Measures of the effectiveness of the integrated training and development programme have been based around the results of staff surveys, the number of job vacancies filled by internal applicants and staff turnover figures. 5. 4 Reflect on strengths and areas for development in own practice of facilitating groups
Facilitating groups can be quite daunting I feel at times, as quite a shy person I did find this very difficult, however, after many years of teaching safer people handling stood in front of many staff talking and demonstrating practical handling skills I have developed my confidence. I always make preparations prior to taking a training session, I feel this is paramount, if planning has not been completed prior to the session then the session does not run to schedule participants become easily bored due to the facilitator being unorganized and often repeating themselves. I feel that my area of development is to improve my assertiveness, I can be assertive at times but often feel that I should have been more assertive with a particular member of staff.