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What is the Role of the Facilitator?

The facilitator should aim to:

  • Keep the group on track and ensure all participants are heard
  • Identify and link common themes and prevent repetition
  • Help resolve and/or manage any disagreements or conflicts
  • Clarify confusing statements by summarizing what has been said and asking clarifying questions
  • Identify when the group is ready to make a decision and test for agreement

It is not the purpose of the facilitator to:

  • Make judgements about people’s arguments or opinions
  • Have the final say
  • Dominate the discussion

Sometimes conflict will arise within the group. Everyone should be encouraged to have an open mind and try to set aside their personal feelings. It is difficult to manage conflict, especially within a peer group. Choose a facilitator who is confident in managing conflict and is familiar with their role and responsibilities.

Tips for Facilitating
  • Each member of the group will come from a particular background and culture and has a unique set of experiences, ideas and opinions.
  • People need to feel safe to contribute to the discussion, to share a differing opinion or something personal. Ensure the group understands that ‘whatever happens in the group stays in the group’.
  • Just because a person is quiet does not mean that they do not have something valuable to contribute to the discussion.
  • Every person’s contribution is valuable. People should contribute equally irrespective of their position or experience.
  • Everyone in the group has a right to have their views heard.