“A real humanist can be identified more by his trust in the people, which engages him in their struggle, than by a thousand actions in their favor without that trust.”Paulo Freire
At their best, group activities can serve as bridges between participants and promote learning through community building. They can reinforce the need for communication, co-learning, and collective action.
At their worst, group activities can actually be tools of oppression and alienation and serve to support vertical practices that isolate people from each other everyday.
As Paulo Freire wrote, “A real humanist can be identified more by his trust in the people, which engages him in their struggle, than by a thousand actions in their favor without that trust.” In this sense, excellent facilitation requires that we all become humanists who engage participants with each other, followers with leaders, and teachers with students.
Making meaning with youth means identifying the intentions, purposes, meaning, and assumptions within, throughout, and after an activity. This can happen in countless ways, but generally looks like this:
- Make activities hands-on, engaging experiences that allow all students to access their meaning.
- Learn from mistakes and use failure to teach youth.
- Inspire innovation and creativity with different ways to solve challenges.
- Bring youth to deeper meaning by encouraging them to think about how and why something works or fails.
- Apply meaning to different parts of life, no matter what the activity, and let youth see that activities you’re doing in the moment affect them other places, too.
Approaching activities like this lets youth understand their are deeper meanings, more significant opportunities, and powerful ways the activities YOU facilitate can change the world!
Read The “Excellent Facilitation” Series!
- Be An Excellent Facilitator: Before You Start
- Excellent Facilitation: Be a Facilitator
- Excellent Facilitation: Embrace the Journey
- Excellent Facilitation: Seek Consensus
- Excellent Facilitation: Create Safe Space
- Excellent Facilitation: Make Meaning With Participants
- Excellent Facilitation: Reflect, Reflect, Reflect
- Excellent Facilitation: Framing and Sequencing
- Excellent Facilitation: Create Guidelines and Goals
- Excellent Facilitation: Embrace Challenges