Facilitating Group Learning: Strategies for Success with Diverse Learners, Second Edition
Author: George Lakey • Foreword by Mark Leier
Series: PM Press/ Reach and Teach
From the acclaimed coauthor of A Manual for Direct Action comes Facilitating Group Learning, an essential resource designed to help educators, trainers, workshop leaders, and anyone who assists groups to learn. George Lakey presents the core principles and proven techniques of direct education, an approach he developed for effectively teaching adults in groups. To illustrate how it works in action, Lakey includes a wealth of compelling stories from his vast experience facilitating groups in a variety of situations.
Direct education cuts through the pretense and needless complications that can distance learners from subject matter. It removes false expectations (for example, that kinesthetic learners will strongly benefit from slide presentations) and false assumptions (for example, that a group is simply the sum of the individuals). This approach focuses the encounter between teacher and group; it replaces scattered attention—of a teacher preoccupied with curriculum and participants preoccupied with distractions—with gathered attention.
Unlike in other books on group facilitation, the author emphasizes critical issues related to diversity, as well as authenticity and emotions. Step by step, this groundbreaking book describes how to design effective learning experiences and shows what it takes to facilitate them. Ultimately, it brings all the elements of the author’s direct education approach together.
Facilitating Group Learning also contains material on sustaining the educator, addresses working with social movements, and includes the Training for Change toolkit of group learning techniques.
“If you want to be a soldier, you can go to West Point. If you want to be a nonviolent change-maker—well, this is an awfully good place to start. George Lakey has been near the center of American resistance for decades, and so he has both remarkable stories and remarkable insights—not to mention some remarkable colleagues who add their perspective to this necessary manual!”
—Bill McKibben, cofounder of 350.org
“I’ve been working with forms of direct education for many decades, and I found new ideas and inspirations in every chapter. For anyone involved in teaching, training, sharing skills, or leading groups, this book is an invaluable resource!”
—Starhawk, author of The Earth Path, Dreaming the Dark, and Webs of Power
“Lakey doesn’t make it sound easy, but he employs a reasoned, seasoned perspective to clearly convey principles of organization that have proved their value to activists worldwide.”
“Hard-won advice for community organizers . . . Clear, encouraging, and potentially empowering.”
“This book is a must-read for people who teach adults of any age, no matter what the subject, and care about doing it in ways that yield deep and abiding learning. Wonderfully well-written and rich with psychological and spiritual insights as well as practical strategies, it represents the fruits of a lifetime of transformational teaching and learning by one of the foremost adult educators of our time.”
—Parker J. Palmer, author of The Courage to Teach and Let Your Life Speak
About the Contributors:
George Lakey has led over 1,500 social change workshops on five continents. He recently retired from Swarthmore College, where he was the Eugene M. Lang Visiting Professor for Issues in Social Change. He has also taught sociology at Haverford College and the University of Pennsylvania. He was a trainer for the 1964 Mississippi Freedom Summer, revised the worker education program for the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, and led education programs for LGBTQ people, Mohawks, clergy including Buddhist monks, anarchists, psychologists, prisoners, social workers, African National Congress peacekeepers, and many kinds of community advocacy groups. He cofounded the organization Training for Change and directed it for fifteen years. In 2010 he was named Peace Educator of the Year by the Peace and Justice Studies Association. His ten books have all been about change, including How We Win (2018). He lives in Philadelphia.
After several years working as a bridge tender, short order cook, busker, construction laborer, and printer, among other jobs, Mark Leier went to university, receiving a PhD in history from Memorial University of Newfoundland. He now works in the history department of Simon Fraser University. His many books include Bakunin: The Creative Passion.
See and hear interviews, book reviews, and other news on George Lakey's page HERE.
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