Facilitating 90 odd Students

MMS students-No: 90

MY Facilitation Experience

September 3, 2015

Recently, I had the opportunity to travel down to Khandala with a group of ninety students and conduct One day workshop and I chose facilitation and debrief exercises to make it fun, interesting and deep learning endeavour.

The students I worked with consisted of juniors and seniors from MMS College at Thane from Sales and Marketing domain, and I was to address them on topic.

"Are you coming in your way?"

Which was about self-limiting beliefs, attitudes and values.

It was my first experience of facilitating such a large group of students unknown to me, and I was the only facilitator. Initially I had my own apprehensions regarding taking this assignment as I was not sure how I would handle the energetic young students who are out on an outdoor trip. Out of their college boundary-looking at this Khandala trip as a freak-out time and are then forced to learn from someone whom they do not even know. I knew it's a mammoth task. But it keeps happening with me and this time again I proved it right - the moment I deny anything because of the size of the challenge, my inner mind is actually asking to venture into it ... and yes - I knew I wanted to really check on and take this challenge head-on.

The only formal experience I really had in facilitating activities were during the IAF learning events which I had slowly started using for SMEs and Corporates and also teaching - non teaching staff. But it was always with a small group size and with a clear objective in mind.

I had also used few tools effectively for smaller group of students on topics - like confidence building and facing the failure and even for learning presentation skills.

But I just could not imagine 90 odd students in an outdoor set up and poor me - left with them, whom they may look at as a villain who probably has come to spoil the whole fun they would have otherwise had in the outdoor campaign.

Kids can be real brat if they want to-we all know that, I was nervous, but also excited. As this has been my experience-the moment you get the excitement of learning introduced the whole scenario changes - and my challenge ends there - I knew - I so wanted to do it and see the magic happening.

Each group was given time to design a team poster and come up with a team chant.

For their chant, students decided to do a remix of musical tunes now very popular with teenagers - and they did it creatively - it was fun listening to their new chants and how they let everyone know what the whole group is all about - I had started sensing the magic - the show was about to happen- students were gearing up to my style and facilitation…all the cheers and applauds were charging the place ... Energy was filled up and stage was now set.

The rest of the day carried on, and with each new activity, energizer, or icebreaker process, I felt myself growing more and more comfortable with my group. And students were so deeply involved in each activity and process-the outcomes were creative and rich in knowledge. To their amusement I also allowed them to use Google for references and exploring ... they never thought I would say that-and I told them - that's the fun part - In facilitation you can use any resource to gain and share knowledge. They all just loved the concept. I could sense that they were becoming more relaxed with each other as well. The group remained very positive throughout all of the activities, and seemed to respect and listen to one another fairly well.

As a facilitator, it's important for me to be able to adapt to students with different backgrounds and experience levels. But often get quickly frustrated when students/participants come who have essentially no background in such activities and therefore require more attention and explanation. As it turns out, the day was pretty chaotic too but the chaos was an organized one and they all loved it. The climax was when 10 different groups had to present the learning in the form of small skit-students were hugely creative in using humor, current situations, political references and college ongoing scenes and made it very interesting.

Learning was huge, it emerged from all their brainstorming and experiences so it was completely accepted and fun way of interaction made their bonds much stronger and the facilitator was left overwhelmed with happiness and tears for witnessing the magic of facilitation again...