by Betsy Carlin
Over the course of the last month and a half, while discussing the book Professionalizing Early Childhood as a Field of Practice: A Guide to the Next Era, we as a diverse group of people who are committed to the field of early childhood, have considered…
- What brings us as individuals to the conversation about organizing ECE into a professional field of practice?
- What are our individual beliefs and assumptions about ECE currently?
And we have…
- Entered into a process of collective inquiry, expanding what we each thought to be true, so together we can begin to imagine the next era of ECE.
Now the time has come to put all this deep thinking and discovery to good use, to step up as leaders and advocates, and realize our role in the work of launching conversations with intent where we work and live.
In chapter 4 of the book, Stacie Goffin identifies roles that need to be filled in order to have a successful conversation with intent: the convener, the facilitator, and the designer of the conversation environment. The roles can be filled by an individual or a group of people who have read the book (like us). Each role has great value. For this week’s conversation, I would like us to focus on the role of facilitator.
Let’s start with a common understanding of the term. To facilitate means A) to make easy or less difficult and B) to help forward a process or action. Based on this definition and through experience, I have come to believe a facilitator’s role is to break down barriers and be a catalyst for deep thinking so collectively a group can make forward progress. Facilitators provide clear focus on the purpose of a process while being flexible in the route taken. Facilitators create a space where individuals feel trusted, respected and safe to share their perspective. Facilitators need to listen, question for understanding and weave together varying, even opposing ideas, to create shared understanding, all while ensuring the strongest possible outcome.
For each of us, our ability to take the role of facilitator began when we entered this book study and committed to participating in a conversation with intent. It continued as we committed to self-reflection and shared in conversations to gain new insight on the current challenges that face the field of ECE and to imagine the possibilities for co-creating something better. This book study has not only provided each of us with the background necessary to facilitate a conversation (or two) with intent; it has challenged us to do so.
For some of us, taking the challenge may be exciting or simply an extension of what we already do, for others it may be daunting and taking us out of our comfort zone. This week, for our discussion, I would like each of us to set and share goals for facilitating a conversation with intent within the next 6 months. Along with the goals, I would like to invite you to share at least one insight, challenge, or question you have about the role of facilitator. Through the week we can collectively respond with our experience, wisdom, and expertise to prepare ourselves to be the facilitators of the next wave of conversations with intent.
*New here? You can find all the book study details HERE. Happy reading!
Book Study Timeline!
(click on chapter or name below to access that content)
- 2/1/16 – Book study begins!
- 2/2/16 – Chapter 1 (Kyra Ostendorf)
- 2/9/16 – Chapter 1 (Roseann Murphy & Magdalena Palencia)
- 2/16/16 – Chapter 2 & Chapter 2 Cont. (Jill Bella)
- 2/23/16 – Chapter 2 (Gayle Stuber)
- 3/1/16 – Chapter 3 (Robert Gundling)
- 3/8/16 – Chapter 3 (Tracy McElhattan)
- 3/15/16 – Chapter 4 (Betsy Carlin)
- 3/22/16 – Chapter 4 (Susan Zoll)
This book study is sponsored by Redleaf Press