Photo Credit: Dan Anthon, RRU

A couple of weeks ago I got the opportunity to co-facilitate a Facilitator Development Workshop with Doug Kerr and David Stevenson for Royal Roads University. The FDW is the workshop that people take to learn how to facilitate the Instructional Skills Workshop, a three-day workshop that supports individuals to enhance their face-to-face teaching skills.

Doug is the originator of the ISW and I was thrilled to once again be included in a workshop with Doug at the helm. I took the FDW myself as a participant back in 2015 and this time, as co-facilitators, David and I were being “mentored in” to the role of Trainer, so that we can teach FDWs in the future on our own or with other Trainer colleagues. This added an extra layer of feedback to the mini-lesson cycles over the first three days of the workshop – and it sometimes was a mind boggle to keep it all straight!

Here’s how it worked:

  1. Someone (the “Instructor”) would teach a 10-minute mini-lesson
  2. Someone (the “Facilitator”) would facilitate a feedback session for that instructor
  3. David or myself (the “Trainer”) would facilitate feedback from the group for the facilitator, about how they facilitated the feedback for the instructor
  4. Doug would facilitate feedback from the group for David or I about how we facilitated feedback for the facilitator

Phew, right? All of these pieces were video recorded which has left me with some evidence to be able to reflect back on my own teaching and facilitation.

If you’re not familiar with either the ISW or FDW you might be interested in learning more about the philosophies they hold dear. Back when I was preparing for the workshop, I reviewed the FDW manual and some of the ISW Literature mentioned on the ISW Network’s website (particularly Alice McPherson’s 2011 Ph.D. dissertation). I thought these highlights and features of the ISW/FDW model were noteworthy:

  • peer facilitation process
  • co-learning model
  • focus on experiential learning (Kolb: experiential learning cycle)
  • action research process (situates the individual within a group that is working on the same issues or problems
  • inter-subjectivity (blur lines of power and increase learning; teacher, student and content relate to each other)
  • micro-teaching and feedback as the core activity
  • evidence-based strategies for teaching for engaged learning
  • confidential learning environment where risk taking is encouraged
  • modeling participatory behaviours
  • promote inquiry
  • scholarly teaching (affect the activity of teaching and the resulting learning)
  • generative dialogues (opens up the possibility for a Community of Practice to take room)
  • facilitating reflective processes

These are just some of the theories and practices that make up this very effective program.

All in all it was a gift to spend four days with great colleagues talking about and practicing teaching and facilitation and learning from great role-modelling in action. Looking forward to facilitating my next ISW or FDW to continue my own learning and supporting others in the same endeavour.

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