Student facilitators make our small-group, discussion-based approach possible. They create an open and safe environment for their fellow students to have collaborative, action-oriented discussions about addressing sexual violence and misconduct. This takes considerable emotional intelligence, leadership, and courage, and it requires time and energy. We greatly appreciate the contribution facilitators make to their campuses.
Below are some resources we provide to support our Informed-U facilitators:
Facilitator Training Video
+ Can I be a facilitator if I am a mandatory reporter?
If you are a mandatory reporter, you should discuss this question with your Title IX Coordinator before you lead your first session. If your esponsibility is not waived during the session, it is important to let participants know prior to beginning the session tell them what sort of things you are required to report.
+ How do I prepare for leading an Informed-U learning session?
Review the Facilitator Checklist before leading sessions to make sure you are prepared.
+ Can I lead sessions with more than 8 students or fewer than 6?
The ideal group size is 6 to 8 participants, which allows for a diversity of opinion but is small enough for everyone to have plenty of opportunities to contribute. It’s okay to make exceptions under extenuating circumstances, but the experience tends to be most productive within the the 6 to 8 range. As facilitator, you will often have to use your best judgment, and this is one of those cases.
+ What is the difference between the Session Script and the Facilitator Guide?
The Session Script is for participants. They take turns reading from it out loud to the group. The Facilitator Guide is used only by the Facilitator. It contains all of the content contained in the Session Script, but also an introduction and Facilitator Tips.
+ Am I supposed to read all of the Facilitator Tips (green boxes) in the Facilitator Guide to the group?
The Facilitator Tips provide potential responses, answers to specific questions, and additional information. If the group touches on the content listed in the facilitator tips, you do not need to repeat it to the group. You can use your judgment as to whether or not using the facilitator tips will augment the discussion.
+ What do I do if the group gets behind schedule?
The best way to manage this is to be attuned to the timing throughout the session by referring to the timing cues in the Facilitator Guide. If you get behind schedule early, let the group know that there are a lot of other important topics to cover, and that they can come back to the current discussion if there is time left at the end.
+ What do I do if the the group has already discussed something that is covered later in the session?
The natural flow of conversation can occasionally lead the participants to discuss a topic mentioned later in the script. When this happens, you can let them know they will have the opportunity to talk about it later. However, if the participants appear to be very engaged and you don’t want to disrupt a productive conversation, you may skip that topic or question when you reach it later.
+ What do I do if the conversation gets derailed from the script?
If the conversation is productive, it is okay to allow it to continue for a bit as long as there is enough time to cover the remaining content. If the conversation is not relevant, it is a good idea to intervene and remind the group of the goals of the session. You will have to use your judgment in this case. The more sessions you lead, the better you will get at dealing with this.
+ What do I do if the group is moving through the discussion too fast? How do I encourage them to have a deeper conversation?
Don’t be afraid to ask follow-up questions, such as "Why do you think that is?" or "Does anyone have anything to add?". If the group doesn’t respond, don’t be too quick to fill the silence. Often, if you wait, someone will speak up. As the group delves further into the session and gets more comfortable with the topic and with each other, the conversation usually becomes richer and more natural.
+ What do I do if someone is dominating the conversation?
This is not always easy. You can shift control by asking other participants to read, calling on others by name and asking them what they think. You might also satisfy a dominating person’s desire to be heard by giving them a specific task such as passing out cards. As a last resort, you can ask the dominating person directly to allow others to contribute more.
+ What do I do if someone is not participating in the conversation?
Sometimes people aren’t that comfortable speaking in front of others, especially when it comes to sharing their own thoughts and opinions. This does not mean that they are not engaged. One way to help ease a quieter person into the discussion is by having them read from the card activities or discussion questions. However, if it is apparent that someone is clearly uncomfortable speaking, don’t put that person on the spot. You will have to use your judgment in this situation.
+ What do I do if the group keeps turning to me for answers?
As a general rule, if someone asks you a question, you should turn the question back to the group, to see if they can answer the question on their own. You might want to say "What does the rest of the group think?". Of course, it is okay to answer specific questions about the process of the session or campus resources. You might want to share personal experiences or opinions, just to get the conversation rolling, but do so sparingly.
+ What do I do if someone shares a traumatic experience with me and the group?
It takes a lot of strength to share painful experiences. When this happens, we recommend staying calm and acknowledging the participant’s courage for sharing their story. After you have done this, you can remind the group of the campus resources available to them and of any onsite resources available during the session itself.
+ What do I do if someone says something that I find offensive?
It is not your job to tell someone if their opinion is wrong or right, but rather encourage discussion and debate among the participants. Perhaps ask the group if any one else has a different opinion. However, if someone crosses the line and makes inappropriate comments, you may want to be direct and tell them that type of language won’t be tolerated. If someone becomes abusive, you should call a campus resource for help.
+ What do I do if a serious disagreement breaks out among the group?
Let the group know that there is value to hearing different perspectives and how important it is to have conversations such as these. If the disagreement becomes unproductive, however, it might be best to redirect the conversation back to the next discussion question.
+ What do I do if it is apparent that a student is feeling very uncomfortable?
Rather than single that person out in front of everyone, remind the group of the resources available to them and that they may step away at any time. If the student still appears upset and unable to leave, you might want to have the group take a 5 minute break and try to direct the student towards a helpful resource.
The Facilitator Checklist outlines all the responsibilities associated with delivering Informed-U learning sessions. We recommend that facilitators print off a copy to refer to when getting ready to facilitate and also that they take it with them to their sessions to have as a reference.
After attending the in-person training, all facilitators should receive an invite to join the Informed-U Facilitator Facebook Page, where they can communicate with our network of facilitators across campuses. If you have been through the training and have not received the invite, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know.