I'm in Colorado getting ready to teach an intensive covering the first year of clinical practice at the American Herbalists Guild Symposium tomorrow.
I teach and facilitate quite a bit, and even so, I find that longer workshops require so much intention and skill to put together.
As Nelson and colleagues say in Designing and Facilitating Life-Changing Workshops,
You are both teacher and facilitator—what we call the “twin roles.” As a teacher, you design and deliver the workshop content. You set goals, demonstrate skills, communicate information, and manage the group’s learning. As a facilitator, you guide and support the group process by delegating responsibility and negotiating energy—that is, mediating the emotions, behaviors, and interactions of the group.
In many ways, it's easier to teach what I think of as a "brain dump" workshop - which involves telling people things and having them write the things down or remember them.
Logistically, this is definitely the easiest thing to do, particularly when you have a larger group and a short-ish amount of time. As a teacher, you can skip most of the facilitation process and focus on a single role rather than a dual role.
However, it often doesn't wind up being particularly meaningful for participants.
Especially these days, I think it's important to do things in groups that we couldn't do on our own. There are so few chances to intentionally work together in boundaried and focused spaces. That's what I aim to facilitate, with varied success. Here's hoping we can tap into the magic tomorrow
In case you have any workshop teaching on the horizon, here are two of my favorite resources for preparing. These are both best for groups that will be meeting for 1/2 day or more - not so much for one or two hour sessions.
- Designing and Facilitating Life-Changing Workshops
- The Workshop Survival Guide: How to design and teach workshops that work every time