|The three modes of facilitation
Here you, the facilitator, direct the learning process, exercise your power over it, and do things for the group: you lead from the front by thinking and acting on behalf of the group. You decide on the objectives and the programme, interpret and give meaning & challenge resistances, manage group feelings, provide structures for learning and honour the claims of authentic behaviour in the group. You take full responsibility, in charge of all major decisions on all dimensions of the learning process.
Here you share your power over the learning process and manage the different dimensions with the group: you enable and guide the group to become more self-directing in the various forms of learning by conferring with them. You prompt and help group members to decide on the programme, to give meaning to experiences, to do their own confrontation, and so on. In this process, you share your own view which, though influential, is not final but one among many. Outcomes are always negotiated. You collaborate with the members of the group in devising the learning process: your facilitation is co-operative.
Here you respect the total autonomy of the group: you do not do things for them, or with them, but give them freedom to find their own way, exercising their own judgment without any intervention on your part. Without any reminders, guidance or assistance, they evolve their programme; give meaning to what is going on, find ways of confronting their avoidances, and so on. The bedrock of learning is unprompted, self-directed practice, and here you gave space for it. This does not mean the abdication of responsibility. It is the subtle art of creating conditions within which people can exercise full self-determination in their learning.
The politics of learning
These three modes deal with the politics of learning, with the exercise of power in the management of the different dimensions of experience. They are about who controls and influences such management. Who makes the decisions about what people learn and how they learn it: the facilitator alone, the facilitator and group members together, or the group members atone?
As an effective facilitator, you are someone who can use all these three modes as and when appropriate; and are flexible in moving from mode to mode in the light of the changing situation in the group.
Source: The Facilitator’s Handbook. Heron
Heron (1986) produced a description of different facilitation styles that could be adopted by trainers as they performed various tasks. He describes three modes of facilitation.
Source: The Trainer’s Handbook. Middleton and Field, based on Six Category Intervention Analysis Heron