Sometimes as Enablers of change we just need a few more ideas to help us plan, design and run our activities. Where do we go when we want more resources and ideas for facilitating? In previous episodes we’ve given you our top five journals, journal articles, blogs, and podcasts. These resources aren’t any of those and so are a bit of an eclectic mix around facilitation and running small groups. So, here’s the five we’ve found useful!
The first resource we want to highlight is an eLearning module about small group learning. Denise was part of the team that developed this, so she may be biased but it is a useful overview and refresher on connecting, forming and running small groups. It is based on experience with the Red Meat Profit Partnership Action Network project, a small group based extension programme. So you will find a few videos in the module that feature an Action Group or two. It is useful if you are just starting out with small groups, or you want to remind yourself of what is important when facilitating or getting involved in a small group for extension.
The second resource is a way to reflect on past events and then categorise our thoughts about it. John likes this one because of his horticultural background! It is the Rose, thorn and bud method. The way you can use it is to ask the participants in your group to think back about a particular event and invite them to jot down their thoughts under three headings. The first is called Rose, and is symbolic of the successes or highlights. The next heading is Thorn and relates to those items that were challenging or didn’t work quite so well. The third and final category is Bud, which relates to new ideas that have emerged or something to look forward to. The Mindful Schools program has created a simple one-page handout that you can download for free.
The third resource is the Peer 2 Peer Learning Start-up kit. Denise had the pleasure of developing this with Jeanette Long for the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries. It will be used by people working in the Enhanced Extension Coordination in the Great Barrier Reef project, which is funded by the Queensland Government Reef Water Quality program. Denise admits that she again may be biased, but it gives a great overview of peer-to-peer learning, why you would use a peer-to-peer learning group, what makes a good facilitator, and outlines the steps involved in setting up a peer-to-peer learning group. There are also links to other great resources, as well as some tips and ideas for managing common challenges!
The fourth resource is A Palette of Possibilities for environmental action projects written by our friend Les Robinson and a team from the Australian Association for Environmental Education. It is invaluable if you want to get some details on how to design effective action projects. It starts with an overview of human-centred research and then offers a bunch of different strategies, as well as some great ideas about field testing and reflection. It was funded by the New South Wales government through the NSW Environment Trust. It is easy to follow and has a huge range of options to explore.
So to the final resource! This is from Viv McWaters and it is another booklet, called Bring Your Meetings to Life, A Guide for Community Groups. This is a great overview for anyone involved in running meetings for community groups, but the ideas will be useful for any meeting! There’s an overview of the different types of meetings, some tips for how to bring your meetings to life and then a huge section that provides a range of participatory group processes you can use.
This has been a short post, but hopefully a useful one for you where we have highlighted some resources that we think should be in any Enablers of change toolkit! And now you have read our thoughts, so we would like to hear yours! Add a comment below the blog post and tell us about any other great resources that are part of your toolkit! We don’t want this to be just a one-way conversation—join in by sharing your thoughts and ideas with us!
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All the best until we meet again!