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Facilitation Guidelines

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Facilitation Guidelines

Adapted with permission from The Shape of Change: A Curriculum for Building Strong Communities and a Sustainable Economy. © 2000 Susan Santone. Creative Change Educational Solutions.

Facilitating discussions about discrimination can be difficult. The following guidelines may be useful as you use the discrimination curriculum. Below these suggestions is a list of questions you can use to generate more thoughtful and meaningful classroom conversations:

· Establish classroom guidelines for behaviour and keep them posted. Be sure to solicit student input on the guidelines.

· Remind the class as needed to adhere to the guidelines as needed.

· Allow people to participate as they feel comfortable. If students seem reluctant to speak to the full group, have students write down their ideas and share in pairs or small groups. Then ask for volunteers to share responses with the full group.

· Students may "shut down" or otherwise resist hearing about difficult issues. You may get comments such as "I don't believe this" or "I don't think that could really happen." Instead of allowing students to deny what they are hearing, ask them to share the reasons for their resistance. Questions such as "What makes you say that?" or "What is keeping you from believing this?" invite further sharing. Questions that begin with "why" (i.e., "Why don't you believe this?") are confrontational and may shut students down even further.

· NEVER ask a student to speak for his/her entire racial/ethnic/religious/etc. group. Remember that students are individuals; their experiences may or may not reflect the experiences of a larger social group.

Suggestions Facilitation Questions

- Desired outcome:
Students generate thoughtful reflections and significant information about new learning or experiences.

Facilitation questions to promote this outcome:
What else did you observe/experience?
Can you be more specific?
Can you say that in another way?
Can you provide some more details about ______?
Who else had the same reaction? Who had a different reaction?

- Desired outcome: Students make sense of data by drawing meaning from it, identifying significant connections, patterns, or trends.

Facilitation questions:
Do you see a pattern here?
How do you account for ______?
What was significant about ______?
What connections to you see?
What does ________ suggest to you?

- Desired outcome: Students generalize information to other experiences. They understand how overarching principles apply to different situations.

Facilitation questions:
What can we infer/conclude from _______?
Does _____ remind you of anything?
What principle do you see operating here?
What does this help you explain?
How does this relate to other experiences or things you already knew?

- Desired outcome: Students apply new learning to real world situations.

Facilitation questions:
How can you use that information?
What does this new information say about our own actions/lives?
What are the consequences of doing or not doing _____?
How can you adapt this information to make it applicable to you?


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