How to Facilitate

You are a facilitator, not a lecturer, not an instructor. You are there to help students teach each other.

You don’t have the threat of a letter grade at your disposal – rather, the merit of the subject material has to stand on its own. Your course must engage them.

Most importantly, you are not their friend. You are their peer, and ultimately their evaluator. You must be willing to fail a student who deserves to fail. Many students see DeCals as merely an easy work-free way of getting units; don’t let them sabotage your integrity by proving them right.

Facilitating can be psychologically taxing. Be prepared for it.

The only way to learn how to facilitate / how to teach is… to teach. Experience and introspection will guide the evolution of your teaching philosophy. Everyone teaches in their own different way, it’s just a matter of finding your own groove. Here are some tips to help you:

  • Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Your own instructors make mistakes all the time.
  • Observe your favorite instructors – how do they teach? When and what do they write on the board? How do they speak? When do they crack jokes, if at all? Think about what makes a good educator.
  • Uncomfortable silence in the room? Don’t panic – silence can be your friend – instead, wait for seven (7) breaths before trying to force discussion again. You’ll often find that people will suddenly speak up, or perhaps they just needed a little silence to think about what to say.