Documentation:CTLT programs/Facilitation Development Workshop/Facilitating Teaching 2019

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Workshop Description

As educators, we are often advised to use “facilitation” skills to promote student learning. If you are not quite sure what this means, nor how to “do” facilitation in your teaching, we invite you to join us in this session.

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

  • define facilitation and briefly describe its role in teaching
  • contrast facilitation and facilitative teaching
  • discuss facilitation techniques, approaches, and skills for classroom situations
  • This session is for instructors who are new to using facilitation skills in their teaching. The focus will be on facilitation skills that are used when teaching in-person (vs online teaching).  Please note that we use the term 'instructor' broadly and welcome anyone who self-identifies as an educator.



Facilitating Teaching: Approaches and Skills - handout describing introduction to facilitation

Group Brainstorm Activities with Purpose - handout for brainstorming activities with purpose

Leading Effective Discussions - handout for leading effective discussion activities.

Resources and References

Bens, I. (2017). Facilitating with ease!: Core skills for facilitators, team leaders and members, managers, consultants and trainers. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons.

Brooks-Harris, C. N., & Brooks-Harris, J. E. (2005, November). Enhancing educational effectiveness: Group facilitation skills and experiential learning. Pre-conference Workshop for the 12th National Conference on Students in Transition. Costa Mesa, California.

Facilitation Fundamentals, INDC 1377 (2018). Justice Institute of British Columbia. New Westminster, BC.

Howell Major, C., Harris, M., Zakrajsek, T. (2016). Teaching for Learning. New York: Routledge.

Kember, D., & Kwan, K. P. (2000). Lecturers' approaches to teaching and their relationship to conceptions of good teaching. Instructional science, 28(5), 469-490

McCanles K., & Lipmanowicz (2015) Liberating Structures Resources, Retrieved from

Ruete, E. (2000). Facilitation 101. Presented at The Art and Mastery of Facilitation - Worlds of Change. Toronto, Ontario. International Association of Facilitators. Retrieved from:

Wiggins, G. & J. McTighe. (2007). Schooling by Design. Alexandria, Virginia: Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development (ASCD

Lesson Plan


Detailed Description

Introduction Short Intro

Chairs in circle when people come in

Participant introductions: Name and affiliation - whatever you feel you belong to (Lucas to model

agenda and objectives  


Speed friending  - 2 lines (see here for Speed Friending questions to project on screen for this activity.)

Room rearrangement together.

10 minutes

Section 1: Introduction to Facilitation

What is facilitation?  

Facilitate: Make (an action or process) easy or easier.

(pass out the handout here)

Modified Placemat activity


  • Some of the reasons I (would) use facilitation in my teaching include...
  • “Facilitative teaching”, to me, means....
  • Some of the essential skills of a facilitator include….(pink boxes). Some of the core values of a facilitator include…(green boxes)


Get into groups of 3-4

Silently respond to the prompt your group has been given by legibly noting down your responses in “your” section of the placemat (2 minutes). Use thick markers.

Share your responses with your group.

Come to consensus on the responses you want to report out. Write these in the rectangle.

Select a spokesperson to report out to the large group

Each group presents information they wrote in their rectangle.

Slide: A facilitator is one who contributes structure and process to interactions so groups are able to function effectively and make high-quality decisions.

Pass out handout

10 min
Planning for success Preparing for successful activity

Bridge: Show quote from Learner Centred about the requirement for more time up front in terms of facilitative teaching. Ask the participants to identify what might need to be done before a session or workshop to lay the ground work for a successful session. Show the participants a slide showing some of the suggestions forom the faculuation guide

  • Divide the participants into groups of three provide each group a flip chart and on that flip chart have them work together to come up to list ways that they already prepare their sessions and come up with ideas around this and why it matters

Each group shares what they have come up with – and whole group shares what’s missing

Setting up and organizing the space

Developing Rapport with Participants

Preparing learners to construct (work with content)

Getting to know about the participants/learners

Activities with Purpose Resources needed include:
  • Worksheets
  • Flipchart with sample partially completed (see end of this document)
  • Handout

Talking notes:

  • In all likelihood, one of the places you’ll most often use your facilitation skills is in planning and implementing  teaching activities that wouldn’t fall into the category of “lecturing”.
  • Let’s take classroom teaching as the context.  As soon as you start thinking about what else you might want to do (in addition to, or as an alternative to, lecturing), you will naturally start to consider what your options are.
    • Ask participants: when you are not lecturing, what are some relatively straightforward teaching strategies you use in the classroom?
  • They may say something that corresponds to….

- Group brainstorm

- Think-pair share

- Snowball

- One minute paper

This next activity invites you to look at the purpose behind a few common active learning approaches. We recognize this is not a workshop on active learning. So, the point isn’t to spend time on the ‘what’ of these approaches, but rather to examine the how.

The how is the application of your facilitation skills. The how flows from your purpose.

Present my sample as a way of describing what they’ll be doing next (see later in this document for the text to include in the sample)

Get into pairs (or trios if necessary). Someone new.

You are going to be given a topic.

  1. Group brainstorm
  2. Think-pair-share
  3. Snowball
  4. One-minute paper

See Activities with Purpose worksheets.

End by asking pairs to swap papers. Pair reads what is on paper and adds sheets. Then original pair reads their colleagues’ comments.

15 (isabeau)
Leading Great Discussions Now let’s change gears and discuss leading discussion within a workshop, course or section. To begin with - let’s use the Triz liberating structure to unpack good discussion. To do this let’s work through this question:

What approaches, techniques and strategies would you use to ensure that there was low and unequal participation in a group discussion.

  1. Spend one-minute thinking on your response to this question
  2. Now group up into 4s and spend 5 minutes listing as many ways to achieve this as possible. Be bold in your answers.
  3. Share your list with the group
  4. Now on your own spend one minute and reflect on whether there is anything that you are currently doing when running discussions that may resemble this list

Effective Practices activity

See the best practice document

Set up flip charts throughout the room with the following space - prepare - setup - Facilitate - Climate

  1. Have each group spend 3 minutes brainstorming area of focus
  2. Provide each group with the best practices sheet and have them share back to the larger group. Combination of best practices and there own ideas
15 min
NAFD (Non-astounding facilitation device)

It’s easy to slip into using the same facilitation activities/approaches over and over. One of the things I love is learning new techniques or activities. For fun, we’ve built in some time to share a NAFD at this workshop.

Explain what it is.

Give example


Take a minute to think of a facilitation technique that you can share and easily explain in less than 2 minutes.  

10 min
Close and thank you Thank participants, evaluation form

1. The best part of this workshop was...because

2. One thing I'd like to say/observe is...

Session Slides