Documentation:CTLT Institute/Facilitator Community/2019 Summer

From UBC Wiki

Session Description

This workshop is designed with our valued Institute Facilitators in mind; however, we invite your participation should you like to deepen your co-facilitation skills in your own context!

Co-facilitation is a dynamic working relationship between facilitators that support the group’s learning process. Join us to explore the opportunities and challenges of co-facilitation, discuss the structures and processes that enable effective co-facilitation, and reflect on your experiences and/or approaches to co-facilitation. You will leave this workshop with practical considerations for when you dance with your co-facilitator in supporting your participants’ learning as well as a mini-toolkit of co-facilitation best practices.


Date: July 25

Time: 1:00 - 2:30 p.m.

Location: CTLT Seminar Room (2.22)


Flipcharts - Conversation Prompts, Objectives, Instructions for Snowball Discussion

Sticky notes

Pen & Paper

Masking Tape

Whiteboard & Flipchart Markers

Lesson Plan

Facilitator Community Workshop - Conversation Prompt 1.jpg
Participant responses to "What you hope to gain from this workshop?" during welcome and introductions.

As participants arrive...

Facilitator Community Workshop - Conversation Prompt 2.jpg

Place conversation prompts (questions below) around the room to encourage informal conversations between participants:

  • What is the largest co-facilitation team that you were a member of?
  • What is the longest/shortest planning process that you were involved in?
  • What are the different contexts in which you have co-facilitated?
Facilitator Community Workshop - Conversation Prompt 3.jpg

Welcome, Introductions & Land Acknowledgement

(Time: 5 min; 5:00)

Please share your name, department, and one thing you hope to get out of this workshop.

There are lots of expertise and experience in the room; we will work to leverage each other's unique strengths to inform our evolving co-facilitation practice and to co-create our learning.

Learning Objectives

(Time: 1 min; 6:00)

By the end of this session, you will be able to:

  1. Appreciate opportunities of co-facilitation
  2. Reflect on your own co-facilitation experience to identify your needs and defaults
  3. Strategize approaches to address common challenges associated with co-facilitation
  4. Craft questions that you will integrate into your co-facilitation process

Table Discussion - Why Co-facilitate?

(Time: 15 min; 21:00)

At your tables, please assign a scribe, a time-keeper, and a presenter. You have 8 minutes to to discuss "why co-facilitate?" Please capture your discussions on the flipchart paper provided.

Report back (1 minute per group)

Debrief & Summary

Co-facilitation offers many benefits - these are our ultimate goals of effective co-facilitation. With our eyes on the prize, this workshop will explore how to bring these benefits consistently into our co-facilitation practice.

(One interesting observation that one co-facilitator made was the organic facilitative conversation that emerged during this activity. Participants were invited to consider what factors may have contributed to this - role assignment? expectation management? etc.)

Snowball Discussion

(Time: 30 min; 51:00)

On your own (1 min): What are your personal apprehensions or challenges around co-facilitation?

Pair (3 min): What might the impact be on your co-facilitator?

Pair-of-pairs (5 min): What might be the impact be on your participants?

Large Group Debrief (20 min): What could possibly go wrong?

Challenges Associated with Co-Facilitation
You Your Co-facilitator(s) Participants
  • relationship with your co-facilitator(s) (e.g., facilitation style, personalities, previous experience of working together, etc.)
  • experience of your co-facilitator(s)
  • lack of clarity around logistics (e.g., timing, who takes the lead for which section, what is/isn't negotiable, etc.)
  • assumptions about your co-facilitator(s)/content/participants
  • False expectations around what the workshop is about
  • Co-facilitator(s)' style and/or approach misaligned with your values and/or beliefs (e.g., protection of participant privacy)
  • Co-facilitators does not share the same understanding of the content (e.g., providing different answers to the same question)
  • Unsure how to address difference in your co-facilitator(s)' opinion/content delivery/approach
  • Not attuned to power dynamics during the session (e.g., talk time, group dynamics, etc.)
  • Shuts down when feeling violated/triggered/marginalized/singled out
  • Confused/annoyed/frustrated when co-facilitators disagree on content/appears unorganized
  • Discomfort when noticing challenging dynamics between the co-facilitator
  • Lacking space to feel heard during the session when co-facilitators or other participants take up too much air time
  • Disappointed with the malalignment between expectations and actual experience
  • Unsure how to acknowledge and credit work done by all involved (e.g., those who may supported the development of the session but did not co-facilitate)
  • Giving and receiving feedback
  • Confidentiality may not be maintained
  • Mental/emotional well-being compromised if triggered during the session
  • What is and what could be - when different co-facilitators work together to deliver the same content, challenges may arise around the consistency of delivery.

"Best Practices" and Key Considerations

(Time: 15 min; 66:00)

Brainstorm (5 min): With considerations to the complexities and potential challenges associated with co-facilitation (table above), what might you do proactively to address them? Jot down your idea, approach or strategy on the sticky notes provided. (One idea per sticky note)

Report Back & Gallery Walk (5 min): Place your sticky notes onto the matrix and see what others have come up with

Summarized Strategies to Mitigate Common Challenges
Co-facilitators Participants
  • Plan and document - striving for clarity and transparency
    • start early (e.g., planning process, on the day of session, etc.)
    • co-create lesson plan:
      • ask what they think the goals are and what the plan should be >> develop clear learning objectives that anchors the session
      • sketch out how the day will go - estimate timing and include wiggle room
      • use collaborative technologies (e.g., Google Doc, Workspace) to keep all plans in one place
      • confirm roles and responsibilities
      • anticipate participant questions and generate discussion prompts
    • logistics:
      • create and agree checklist of all logistical issues (e.g., venue, set-up, supplies, participant communication, etc.)
      • divvy up the work depending on each other's capacity and develop an accountability mechanism (e.g., timeline, check-ins)
      • discuss how to share your session materials (e.g., publicly on a website, openly via a Creative Commons license, etc.)
      • keep track of all contributors/facilitators
  • Physical Space
    • familiarize self with room and building
    • make contingency plan for technology issues
  • Develop trust and relationship
    • develop working agreements/code of conduct re: co-facilitation
    • inquire what each other's goals are in this co-facilitation opportunity
    • test assumptions about the topic and about one another
    • clarify one another's values, pedagogy, personalities
    • air expectations, boundaries, and needs
    • meet in person/video call for planning
  • Don't facilitate outside of your ability to provide emotional containment
  • Draft clear session descriptions with tentative learning objectives to minimize false expectations
  • holding space for each other (e.g., Would you like to share any insights or observations before we shift gears?)
  • use scheduled breaks or during group work to check-in, pivot, get back on track
  • Conduct debrief immediately; schedule time to debrief if this isn't possible
  • Ground your reflections and feedback in the participant evaluations
  • follow up with appropriate and relevant resources
  • invite participants to check-in/reach-out

Debrief/Summarize (5 min)

Participant responses to "when not to co-facilitate?"

Putting It to Practice

(Time: 23 min; 89:00)

Crafting questions (8 min): Reflecting on your needs, defaults, and approaches to facilitation, craft some questions or key considerations for yourself and your co-facilitator. (to clarify expectations, set boundaries, etc)

Some questions may include:

  • What are your other commitments that may take up your time and attention?
  • What are your goals for co-facilitating this workshop/session?
  • Who's printing out handouts, emailing follow-up surveys/evaluation form?

Parting Question (15 min): When not to have a co-facilitator?

Wrap Up

(Time: 1 min; 90:00)

One-minute paper: what is one thing that you are taking away from this session?

Sharing Permission

This lesson plan was developed by Drs. Deb Chen and Judy Chan of the Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology.

Some rights reserved
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document according to the terms in Creative Commons License, Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0. The full text of this license may be found here: CC by-sa 4.0