Using Visual Support
Use the chalkboard or paper to write down pertinent information,
to track ideas or opinions, answers to questions or, to draw schemes
and note definitions. Recording information on paper helps reinforce
the key points and allows for summarizing the material covered.
It is important to keep most recorded information posted around
the room for the participants and the facilitator to refer to
throughout the training session.
When a facilitator has to talk and write at the same time,
the group may concentrate more on what he or she writes than what
he or she says. In addition, the facilitator’s voice becomes
muffled when he or she speaks toward the board, not to the group.
Hence, it is desirable to work in pairs, so that when one facilitator
speaks, the other partner can write. If a facilitator is working
alone, he or she must face the audience when addressing them,
and not the sheet of paper placed on the wall. Remember, written
information should only reinforce what is being said, not vice
the Guidelines Exercise
Propose or have the participants brainstorm
the guidelines regarding work and communication during the training
session. The following are suggested guidelines and ways of explaining
them to the group (if proposed by the facilitator):
Our first principle – Value Time.
Take a good look at our Training Plan. In a relatively short
span of time allotted for the training session, we have to cover
some complex issues. If we agree to value time, we are committing
to being attentive, not to stray from the subject of discussion,
and to trying to work within the time frame allocated for each
training session. Does the group agree to value time?
Speak One At A Time,
take turns speaking.
Speak Briefly And To The Point
Guidelines two and three are Courtesy Guidelines which
help us to follow our first point of valuing time. Does the group
agree to speak one at a time without interrupting
There are many people in this group and the opinion of
each participant is valuable. Because of this, let us speak briefly.
Those of us who can speak on each of the subjects of our sessions,
should allow others to participate as well. In addition, given
our limited time, let us speak specifically on the given topic.
Does the group agree with this?
Speak Only On Behalf Of Yourself
Let us try and speak only on our own behalf. It is better to
use “I believe…, my suggestion is …, in my opinion
…”. Statements like the following will make the training
more difficult: “Everybody thinks so …, this is widely
established …, everybody assumes so …, all women are
the same …, all men do so …, it was always like this…”.
Also, when anyone cites information from a specific source (books,
articles, media news), please disclose this source. Does the
group agree with this?
Let us make an agreement to maintain positive atmosphere, express
positive ideas and propose positive actions, respect yourself
and others. Does the group agree with this?
Let us consider the principle of Addition. This
principle addresses the importance of tolerance of other people’s
opinions and ideas. This means that each newly expressed idea
supplements what has already been said, instead of rejecting or
contradicting previous statements. There may be any number of
correct answers to a given question, as they each represent the
ideas and opinions of different people. Does the group agree
with this principle?
Respect Each Other
Let us be respectful of ourselves and other participants. It
is important to omit from this training any comments or jokes
based on gender which might be offensive. Does the group agree
The principle of Voluntary Participation
means that when volunteers are needed during an exercise, it is
only appropriate to volunteer yourself – it is not appropriate
to indicate others. Does the group agree with this?
The Confidentiality guideline provides that personal
information about each participant, which may be disclosed during
the classes, should not be discussed outside the session; it should
remain confidential within our close group. Does the group agree
It is important that all the participants agree upon each
of the guidelines and accept them. Therefore, after the facilitator
has written the guidelines on the board he or she should make
sure there are no objections on anyone’s part.
If one of the group members offers an additional guideline,
it may be included in the list on the condition that it does not
contradict any other guidelines and the group accepts it.
In case one or more participants don’t agree with
a guideline, the facilitator should explain how that guideline
helps to achieve the training. He or she may ask the opinion
of the group. If the facilitator’s arguments do not convince
the participant, it is advisable to ask him or her to trust the
judgment of the facilitator and approve the guideline, and later
discuss its merits. Compiling a set of guidelines for training
with the group promotes an atmosphere of cooperation.
Adapted from Prevention
of Domestic Violence and Trafficking in Human Beings, Training
Manual, Winrock International, Kyiv, Ukraine,
Tips On Debriefing
Facilitators might consider the debriefing model that begins
with the question:
How do you feel about the activity and
The purpose of this question is to give an opportunity for the
participants to express their feelings and emotions and prepare
for the intellectual analysis in the latter phases of the debriefing.
Sometimes the participants are so preoccupied with their internal
conversations about their feelings that they do not mindfully
participate in the external conversation. Also, their responses
to other questions (such as What happened during the activity?
or What did you learn from the activity?) might involve
emotional reactions or complaints.
Many facilitators avoid any discussion about feelings and
emotions during the debriefing. Usually, they project their reluctance
to the participants and explain that this particular group does
not like to discuss emotional issues due to their position in
the organizational hierarchy or their field of work (e.g. managers,
or law enforcement officials). If the facilitators really believe
in combining emotional intelligence with the other forms of intelligence,
they probably would not omit this phase of debriefing.
On the other hand, overemphasizing the discussion of feelings
can also be detrimental. The facilitator should explain that
the aim of the exercise is to give people an opportunity to briefly
express their frustrations or share their opinions, and move on
to the other phases of debriefing. The participants’ statements
should be treated as bits of information and not as personal attacks.
It is important that the facilitator does not react defensively.
It is advisable to discourage participants from attempting in-depth
analysis of different feelings.
In case asking the question How do you feel still
seems uncomfortable, the facilitator can substitute it with What
are your reactions to the activity?
Adapted from Tips
for Facilitators, Workshops by Thiagi, Inc.
Adapted from Tips
for Facilitators, Workshops by Thiagi, Inc.,
If the participant asks the facilitator a question, the
latter should thank the participant, mention that the question
is important/interesting and pass it on to the group to answer
(e.g. “Thank you. This is an interesting question. Who
wants to answer it?”). Only after everyone else has presented
his or her opinions, the facilitator may then respond. This approach
offers a triple advantage: 1) if the facilitator does not know
the answer, someone from the group may provide it; 2) the facilitator
gains time to think the question over; and 3) when the facilitator
provides the answer as an equal group member, he/she does not
suppress other opinions, demonstrates tolerance in practice, and
shows respect and attention to different views of the issue.
The facilitators should avoid arguments during guided discussions.
An argument in the group is not advisable unless it is limited
in time and guided by the carefully selected questions (or analysis
of the given situation). In case of an argument or heated discussion
between two participants, the facilitator should thank them for
their contributions and ask the rest of the group to give their
opinion on the subject in question.
Facilitators should avoid answering questions when they are not
sure of the answer. It is wise to redirect such questions to
the group and summarize the results of the discussion at the end.
Another option is to let the participants know that the facilitator
will find out the answer and will return to the question later
in training. Facilitators should tailor questions to local conditions
Tips On Role-Playing
When to Use Role-Playing
Role-playing is useful in initial training or awareness raising
sessions, as well as in follow-up and ongoing training programs.
It should be used in the training of facilitators, community advocates,
heads of programs, managers, planners and head office staff, etc.
In a single training session or workshop, the training
team may wish to set up more than one role-play. If so, it is
advisable to change scenarios and use a different structure (e.
g. whether or not written instructions are handed out; whether
or not the participants are given time to prepare their plot;
whether or not the role-play involves all or some of the participants).
In both the set up and the discussion stages
of the role-play, the facilitator should encourage humor. Remember
that a ‘play’ by definition is not reality, and should
not be taken completely seriously. Humor can defuse the tension
in a role-play situation, and it allows participants to take a more
practical approach to analyzing the potential ‘real life’
situations they might experience later.
Adapted from Role
Playing and Simulation Games: A Training Technique, by Phil
On Evaluating Training Activities/Exercises
Facilitators might find it helpful to use the evaluation
checklist a guide while choosing among different training exercises