Job interview advice, version: youth facilitation challenge
May 13, 2018 2:18 PM   Subscribe

Tomorrow I am going for a second interview for a job I would really like to have. The job is running a life skills program for youth with mental health challenges. I have done the sit-down interview, and tomorrow they want me to facilitate a workshop on the fly with live youth test subjects. They'll tell me tomorrow what the topic of the workshop is.

I am looking for general facilitation/youth work advice that might help me be better at this. I'm pretty awkward, but have had a long and fulfilling career in human services. How can I help them see that I'm awesome in spite of my awkward?
posted by unstrungharp to Work & Money (3 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
Infed is a great resource for youth and community work, maybe tends a bit more towards the history side of things but that link is to a page on facilitating group work.

This page also has a lot of sensible practical advice.

My best facilitation tip is when you are starting to discuss a topic and trying to work out what the participants think about it have prompts like "what do people think about this picture, issue, etc", "what have you heard being said about this topic in the playground/in the media", "what do you think [insert different types of people here, e.g a granny, a young parent, a racist, whatever is relevant] would say about this topic?". Sometimes participants will tell you what they think you want to hear instead of what they actually think, and this framing also gives people a chance to think about the range of opinions people will have on a topic. For some topics it could also be risky somehow for them to say they have personal experience of the thing. This kind of framing allows people to participate a bit more on their own terms if this is the case.
posted by Lluvia at 2:59 PM on May 13, 2018 [5 favorites]


Oh also! The best icebreaker/introductory activity I ever did was in a community work course where the facilitator had us chat to the person next to us and find out 2 or 3 things that they can do. We then went round the group and each person shared a couple of things that their neighbour can do. The facilitator wrote them all up on a flip chart as we shouted them out and then did a wee recap of them and pointed out what an incredible range and diversity of skills we had in the room, and that this was just what we had found out from 5 minutes chatting.

I found this kind of asset based approach really good in terms of emphasising the strength and knowledge that any group of people will be able to draw on, and by doing so encouraging participants to view themselves as people with valuable skills to contribute. Plus it was totally fascinating to learn what people could do - it was like 8 years ago and I still remember there was one guy who was into decorative ropework, how cool!
posted by Lluvia at 3:20 PM on May 13, 2018 [7 favorites]


Bring sticky name tags and a couple of Sharpies- it'll make you look organized, and using names is powerful.

I like asking the group to put all their stuff- purses, coats, water, etc,- all together in one part of the room, NOT drape everything on/under their chairs. This keeps the chairs light and mobile, keeps the room feeling uncluttered, and keeps people from feeling "stuck" to one spot. So try to find a coatrack or set up a couple tables off to the side, out of everyone's eyeline, where people can feel ok that their possessions will be clean and safe.

I like to time my sessions out to the minute (building in a few 3-5 minute buffer zones), and I keep my phone visible with the screen set to stay permanently on so I can see at a glance if I'm on track for time. And I usually plan a fun but disposable 5-10 minute segment, that I can add or ditch if time runs light or short for some reason.

Make sure every single youth speaks out loud to the whole group within the first 15 minutes of the workshop (like ask a go-round-the-circle question). This will warm up each person and they'll be more likely to continue to participate after that. If people don't speak aloud in the first little part of a session, they are more likely to be silent the whole time.

Bring a snack to share! Clementines are easy, cheap, prep-free, mess-free, and healthy.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 5:27 PM on May 13, 2018


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