This is a new addition to the PLIX facilitator toolkit, and one that you will craft yourself!
We all have things that we'd like to work on to become better as facilitators…or even better as people in the world. It's easy to fall into old habits and revert to the models of teaching and learning that we grew up with. Even though a lot of the facilitation techniques are pretty easy to understand, sticking to them can be really tough! We think it might be helpful to have a ritual for getting into a facilitator mindset before your workshop. And that's where the mantra comes in!
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ You will be choosing 1–3 facilitation tips from PLIX or our collaborators to use as a way to focus your growth as a creative learning facilitator.⭐ ⭐ ⭐
In this week's PLIX Conversation Starter, Ricarose describes how she asks her co-facilitators to choose just one Facilitating Fundamental to focus their energy during some of their Family Creative Learning workshops.
Try to focus on that in your practice in the session. During the experience, I ask facilitators to pay attention to how this looks in practice. You might document it with a photo or a quick note that you might write in your notebook. Then, after the experience, we like to do reflection tool called “Red-Yellow-Green” where we think about what worked well, which is a green; yellow is what questions they have, and red is what were areas that were challenging. And I like to use the Red-Yellow-Greens to talk about participants’ experiences, but also to invite facilitators to reflect on what it was like to to try out or focus on this practice in that engagement.
Note: The words used in the cards and the palette are based on our PLIX Facilitation Techniques and the "I Am a Maker" graphic by Alisha (Panjwani) Collins as seen on page 7 (20 in the PDF) of Make: Start Making: A Guide to Engaging Young People in Maker Activities by Danielle Martin and Alisha Panjwani. Special thanks also to Carmelo Presicce, as this activity was shaped in a conversation with him. We also encourage you to seek out other recitations to add to your mantra in the
How to Make Your Own Facilitation Mantra
Print the PLIX Facilitation Mantra Card Deck and cut into 28 pieces (each one 2.125" x 1.58").
- If you'd like to make changes, the file is available for you to download / copy to your own drive.
- If you don't have a printer, see the instructions below
Go through the stack, and, as you read each one, if it jumps out to you as an area of improvement—where you feel like you can grow stronger as a facilitator If you want more ideas, you can add some of the facilitation guidelines in last week's recommended readings.
Take a look at the affirmations you've set aside. How many do you have?
If you have more than 3, let's narrow it down a bit. You won't throw away the others—you can keep them on-hand when you want to revise your mantra. Take the jotted notes/cards and sort them into three piles. You choose the three categories that would be most helpful to help you sort through the piles. Here are some ideas:
Big • Little • Somewhere Inbetween Long-Term • Short-Term • Immediate About Me As a Facilitator • About Them as Learners • About Us Environment • People • Tools & Materials High-Priority • Medium-Priority • Low-Priority
Shuffle each pile and take one card from each pile. Save the others for later.
Read the 1–3 affirmations. How do they feel? Read them again. Switch one out if you'd like to have another one from the "save" pile.
Add extra doodles to decorate your cards, or re-write these on another piece of paper or in your reflection journal if you have one. Put these in a place where you can access them. Post them on the edge of your monitor. Tack them to your fridge. Tape them on your desk.
📷 Take a picture and share your mantra on the PLIX Forum.
Bring them with you to your next creative learning workshop, and read them through to yourself before you begin.
Revisit the mantra after your workshop. What successes did you enjoy while engaging these reminders? What was challenging? Do you need to adjust your mantra?
🚫 🖨️ No printer?
Find some index cards, sticky notes, or small pieces of recycled paper and something you love to write with—a favorite pen, a smooth pencil, a colorful marker. Read through the list below, the Mantra Affirmation Palette, and, as you read each one, if it jumps out to you as an area of improvement—where you feel like you can grow stronger as a facilitator—jot it down on one of the scraps of paper. Put just one per card/note. It's totally fine if you end up writing them all down! If you have the time, you can decorate the cards with stickers, doodles, or decorative borders. Proceed with Step 2 above.
Mantra Affirmation Palette
- I encourage peer learning.
- I frame activities to encourage creative possibilities.
- I curate diverse example projects to inspire patrons.
- I celebrate the learning process, not just the finished product.
- I keep my hands off the tools!
- I use technical jargon sparingly, and only when necessary.
- I remind myself: facilitation is a practice.
- I try making projects myself.
- I am friendly and approachable.
- I am patient.
- I take time to listen.
- I ask questions to help others articulate their ideas.
- I encourage persistence.
- I recognize resilience.
- I praise effort.
- I respect ideas and ask questions to help others find ways to make them even better.
- The patron’s idea is the big idea. It’s about them, not me!
- I make a safe space for taking risks and learning from failure.
- I document and share my creative process.
- I adapt to new situations. I am open to changing plans when needed.
- I go out of my way to create a respectful and inviting learning environment.
- I am curious about others’ interests.
- I welcome everyone’s ideas.
- I imagine a bunch of different outcomes, not just one end goal.
- I don’t need to be the only person in the room with answers.
- I get to know participants, and let them get to know me.
- I go with the flow.
- I give off energy and joy.
- I learn from my peers.