I have been reflecting on my role as a teacher versus my role as a facilitator, and how these may differ. I understand my role and place when teaching is required. I know who I am teaching yet realising this may be a different group of people who wish to learn from me, different in group definition anyway. I have tried to represent this in a concept map, below;
The left hand side represents what I am referring to as teaching. The right, facilitation. As I develop this the key component that I realise is in a facilitation relationship, the learner holds the power. They determine whether to engage in the learning / interaction / action, the level of engagement, and perception of quality is based on their prior experience and expectations. This says to me I need to "let go" when facilitating. I needn't be in control of direction, pace or outcome. However my knowledge can still be useful.
In my concept map I have only considered two entities, myself and the learning community as a whole. I know communities will interact within themselves, however as a newbie to concept maps I am not ready to represent that yet. Consider this a work in progress.
I am now attempting to implement some real facilitation within the boundaries of one of my classes. (As I said, little steps.) I am still restricted by assessment criteria and somewhat by timelines. But I can "open" the remainder of the learning. I'm attempting to establish a Diigo classroom where we can share research. Vicki Davis (teacher extraordinaire) is attempting something similar and you can read her dedicated post here.
I have established a netvibes universe that will provide RSS feeds for relevant information including lesson materials. I intend to include materials developed by the learners which could be anything from text to whiteboards to photostreams to video etc. This universe also provides a blog feed on my thoughts about the class, which the learners will be encouraged to respond to and therefore have input into activities and direction of learning. I intend to have them all sign up to netvibes, and then become owners of the universe also.
Facilitation, a new challenge.