Teaching is not easy, absolutely. But sometimes I feel that putting myself as a facilitator instead of teacher could help lessen the challenges. The challenge is different, but apparently one is not less challenging than the other. BTW, as a Teaching Assistant, I was encouraged to take more responsibilities in leading this course. And I am happy to take the challenge.
Writing here in the Lakefront cafe Memorial Union, I am trying to reflect on how I probably did not do a good job especially in facilitating the discussion about “knowledge” yesterday. I have a group of smart students and from their reading reflecions, they brought great ideas about local knowledge, urban knowledge, indigenous knowledge, professional knowledge, and knowledge democracy, and how they are relevant to the context of social movement.
What I realize is that the greatest challenge in facilitating is how to connect these different ideas and produce an insightful discussion. I was trying to listen carefully, which is a skill that a facilitator has to master, but I felt like I was lost when trying to connect these comments from my students. And I could see too in their eyes that they were confused by how I was communicating these ideas. Maybe I talked too much? Maybe I should talk less and let them talk; passing the power for them so that they feel the complete liberty responding other ideas. Maybe I did not have enough time to prepare myself and underestimated the concepts (sometimes I feel like being a facilitator does not need to know exactly the conceptual ideas of the conversation).
This will be an ongoing journey for me to be an effective facilitator. And I know my journey is still in the very beginning.