Thursday, April 2, 2015

Make them M-O-O-O-V-E

"Can you move a bit",..... "a little bit".  
With much reluctance and irritation did I move. All of 7 or 8 years, travelling in a BEST Bus in Mumbai, half-ticket (half price), I was mad that some Uncle or Aunt would move me so that they could park themselves along with their kid (3 in a 2-seats). And how I hated this m-o-o-o-v-e!

Surprising, my methodology, of training & facilitation, since the time I started 21 years back,  is all about movement ... and one of the often repeated instructions that I give is "Let's m-o-o-o-v-e". Ha! Ha!

So what makes me ask learners to move?

It's all about energy. Sitting for long periods of time which usually happens in ILD (Instructional Led Delivery) also known a Classroom Training can be very taxing. Especially when it comes to Adults... they just can't sit and listen for a long period of time. So what should an Engaging Facilitator / Trainer / Lecturer do? 

Make the class m-o-o-o-v-e. Easier said than done!

Most learning environments i.e. design of a classroom doesn't allow movement. Really? Maybe we need to be a bit more innovative here. Even in fixed seating classrooms there can be lots of planned movement... only if you "Think" of it.

I was reading a few session synopsis from the Conference on Higher Education Pedagogy 2011 and was 'hit' by a particular session description by Beverly Evans, Health, Human Performance and Recreation, Southern Missouri State University. She interestingly mentions "Attaching treadmills to desks in college classrooms as suggested by Brain Rules (2008) by author John Medina being impractical for most". However she speaks of the link between physical activity and cognitive functioning and refers to 2 instructors who researched using movement in 3 different classes with a goal of enhancing the student learning experience. She also refers to Spark: The revolutionary new science of exercise and the brain by Ratey J. & Hagerman. E (2008) as a case in point. 

I was not present for the Conference so I cannot give more insights into her paper.However, it validates my personal view that movement enhances learning.

In the world of facilitation, I clearly hear Rhonda Tranks mention about the power of movement in facilitation in her session at the International Association of Facilitators (IAF) Asia Conference 2011 in Bangalore, and m-o-o-o-v-e did we, all because of her. 

As a delegate, it enhanced my understanding of the process and allowed me to build my content to the discussion that was taking place. I loved the Rating Scale Method wherein all of us individually rated on certain statements and then she put the scale on the floor and asked us to take our position.... and then we had an enriching debate on our positions... later after much churning we were asked to think whether we had now changed our position or was it the same. Wow! It made me look at my opinion, debate on it, hear others with different perspectives and then I could change my opinion or let it remain... all about me and my choice! Reflective!

For me, m-o-o-o-v-e is the lifeline in all my programs: it builds energy, improves concentration, makes the learner agile, open to collaborate, connect and explore many viewpoints. I integrate Drama, Applied Improv and many other Facilitation processes that has movement at the center of the processes.

I am careful about not over-doing movement as at times people do need to rest their bodies, therefore it is important to plan and execute. It's part of the design. I have stopped doing ad-hoc energizers (for movement), rather I design the movement as part of the process. I am mindful when I am dealing with elderly audience as they at times resist movement just because their bodies don't support.

So friends, what's stopping you... Make them M-O-O-O-V-E

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Making Silent participants SPEAK out!

One of the challenges I have faced in my training & facilitation career is how to make timid participants speak! There are few who are ready to voice and at times dominate; there are many who 'get in the groove' with churning questions, however there are those who just keep "mum" even with the best of my efforts.

One way I still got many to participate, is by flip-charting answers to questions and then probing further and deeper. The learning was high and interaction was great too.

However deep in my heart, I knew that there were the miniscule few who had not been heard. Slowly I learnt to leave them to themselves (come on!, possibly I couldn't really make everyone contribute). And that became a mindset.

And then I discovered process facilitation. Not that I was not facilitating whilst training however the truth was that it was still loaded with content and at the back of my mind I had many agreed (With client) learning deliverable to cover.

Process facilitation has some amazing methods that can make even the timid voice their opinion however mind you, in small (safe) groups. Divergence brings about processes that build safe conversations in safe environments and Convergence collates the 'voices' from those safe diverged groups. And it can be integrated beautifully with the training workshops.

And this was magic! Get to know more about facilitation, check out

The India chapter of IAF (International Association of Facilitators) actively meets in Mumbai and Bengaluru.

Quotation of the Day