11 November 2008

Week 14

Reflection - What I’ve learned so far

The differences between a community, a group and a team

Within the FOC community, there are separate groups who have formed, for example, a network of Blog list connections.

Another example of a group more recently would be those who joined in various online events being offered within the FOC course.

Elaine (my study buddy) and I formed a team with the intention of facilitating an online event.

Differing roles of teacher, moderator and facilitator

I can remember being quite frustrated and challenged when Leigh would question my interpretation of the differing roles. I now realise how my limited understanding did not allow me to value the differences. Only now am I beginning to appreciate the flexibility and appropriateness of when the role of teacher, moderator and facilitator can be quite separate, rather than, at all times, be integrated; and am slowly beginning to realise that facilitation is the art of leadership in group communication.

I quote from the first statement that appears on the FOC Wikieducator site:
“Facilitation is a rare and valuable skill to have. It is a service that is often used in conferences, debates, panels and tutorials, or simply where groups of people are meeting and need someone to help negotiate meaning and understanding, and to keep everyone engaged and on task. Good online facilitation depends on good online communication skills."
Referring to Vida Thompson’s recording of her mini conference: The role of a facilitator: Leigh was asked about how he facilitates .. and stated:
“be central in passing the speaking hat round and keeping the topic moving, but never imposing a point of view on the discussion.”
For our online event, TLC (Think, Learn & Create) with Mind Maps, at the last minute (Plan B) I needed to take the role of "guest speaker" and quite rightly as Leigh stated ...
“It was a lecture … very teacherly."
I presented the online event as I could have done as a teacher in a F2F lecture! Oh no!!

As a facilitator at this event, Elaine created a friendly, social environment for learning, especially encourage participation using a friendly, personal tone and set the agenda and objectives of the discussion.

As a moderator, Elaine's role would be to facilitate the learning by focusing any discussions on crucial points, asking questions and probing responses to encourage students to expand and build on comments. As she mentioned in her blog, she didn't have the subject matter expertise to do this.

As I evaluate the facilitation of our event in Weeks 15 & 16 I will expand my comments.


Joy said...

Hi Kay,

I totally agree your views of how you understand the differences between teacher, facilitator and moderator after the practical session. Same here :-)

Only after the practical mini conference, I did experience and know the differences betweent these three roles. Though we dont need to be an expert on the topic we are facilitating, but still I think if I know more about the topic, I will be more confident while facilitating.


Sylvia Currie said...

Reading your reflection on the roles of the teacher and facilitator I'm left thinking that a good teacher must also be a good facilitator, and a good facilitator must also be a good moderator. But if we work through those roles in the reverse direction the same doesn't apply. Now I want to duplicate your diagram and put in moderator, facilitator, teacher from bottom circle to top. Would that work?

Kay Lewis said...

Hi Joy

Thank you for comment - yes I believe that is what Elaine had also stated - is she had known more about mind mapping. Nothing lke being thrown in to experience the learning journey :-)

Kay Lewis said...

Hi Sylvia
Thank you for your response! I am Interested in your comment re a good teacher = good facilitator, good facilitator = good moderator, but not reverse. I do think the same can apply, though not necessarily always. Duplicating the diagram using facilitator, moderator and teacher - where would you suggest each one goes in the diagram? Also a 3D perspective, it may depend on the level or purpose of the learning - from teacher-centred (content) to learner-centred (collaborative construction of knowledge)?