Does everyone need coffee right now? Is it even possible to get it?
I watched an ugly facilitation moment the other day, in which participants who were deeply involved in an activity were wrenched out of it by a facilitator who seemed to think it important that everyone went for a break at the same time. Perhaps it was in their timetable, but it was in any case impossible for all to get coffee simultaneously, as the refreshment table just didn’t work that way.
Let’s say you invite participants each to individually write something in response to a question you have posed. Then you have pairs or small groups discussing their writing. It’s natural that different pairs will work at different speeds. Basic facilitation is to ring a bell and get everyone to stop and go for their break. Advanced facilitation is to go round pair by pair and invite them to break at the time that suits them, telling them the reconvening time, by which they’ll be expected to finish the task and enjoy the facilities during the break.
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