What’s your purpose?
A PLOT facilitation skills workshop several years ago challenged my thinking around planning workshops and dialogue with teachers. By starting with “the purpose”, facilitators and teachers are able to tailor their conversations and workshops around what is really important.
Everything we do, whether it be in facilitation or teaching and learning, needs to have a purpose. In planning a workshop or meeting it is useful to start by thinking about this. For example, What is the purpose of this workshop? Subsequently all the planning and material should relate to that purpose. This helps to keep the facilitator and participants focused.
When facilitating dialogue one-to-one, it is beneficial to talk about the purpose of the conversation before you start. For example, What would you like to achieve from our conversation today? This way you can listen to the expectations of the other person and focus the dialogue to suit these expectations.
Warning: This can sometimes mean you have to abandon your own purpose!
Teachers can also use the power of purpose when reflecting on a teaching lesson, or interaction with a child: What was my purpose, and did I fulfill this? This technique is also useful when you are reflecting upon new ideas or resources. What is the purpose for this resource? How would the children use it to fulfill this purpose?
To be purposeful in our facilitation and teaching is to be powerful.
Helen Duncan has extensive experience in the early childhood sector, having taught for 12 years in kindergarten and childcare both in New Zealand and the UK. She joined CORE Education in 2006 and has spent the last three years mentoring teachers in the ECE ICT Professional Learning Programme.