Practicing Democracy: A Toolkit for Educating Civic Professionals Lesson 6

Learning Objectives

  • Develop skills for facilitating groups with an emphasis on applying an equity lens to solving wicked problems.
  • Learn how to consider the facilitator’s power, positionality, and roles in shaping the outcomes of a dialogue.

Learning to facilitate groups is an essential public skill for addressing wicked problems. This lesson helps participants determine their own values and roles in facilitation, along with practical cases for which facilitative leadership might be applied. It asks facilitators to consider their obligation to use the power and positionality of their roles to advance inclusion, equity, and justice. It also asks students to consider how they will frame, organize, and manage dialogues in their work as civic professionals.

The lesson draws upon a framework and materials developed by Martin Carcasson, Timothy Shaffer, and Nancy Thomas on approaches to facilitation in an activity they term “The Neutrality Challenge.” With this activity, they ask how leaders of deliberative practice “balance the commitment to a politically neutral process with the desire to achieve more equitable outcomes.”

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A Toolkit for Educating Civic Professionals

This lesson is part of Practicing Democracy: A Toolkit for Educating Civic Professionals by Nicholas V. Longo. Access the full publication to access the full curriculum.

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