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Introduction to Facilitation Skills Handbook reviewed


Name: Introduction to Facilitation Skills Handbook
Author: Community Development Learning Initiative
Date of Publication: 2001
Price: Free to Community Groups and Interested Parties

A user-friendly, accessible and well-written handbook, which can be used in a variety of situations. It is 'aimed at supporting individuals involved in community work, paid and unpaid', and focusses on the essential areas which need to be considered when 'planning, designing and delivering training or facilitation in a community development setting'.

The handbook is organised into four sections, 'Background', 'Preparation', 'Activities' and 'Feedback and Evaluation', and is designed to be used in a flexible way to support whatever areas of development the reader sees as important to them. The basic concept is like a 'toolkit', which briefly addresses all the essential areas, and which could help build the reader's confidence and competence over a short period of time.

Sources of extra support are signposted in the final section of the book, which is an essential addition.

The writing style is clear, straightforward and accessible, and the layout is consciously relatively plain, using simple graphics where necessary, and giving an overall 'no frills' feel. This suits its intentions of being accessible to the widest audience. Given the current tendency with training materials to emphasise high impact graphics and design, which sometimes reduces the accessibility of the materials considerably, this is a welcome approach, and the materials can be easily photocopied (although I couldn't see whether that was permissible).

The sections and the activities within them are well structured, based on established theoretical principles and current good practice, and should provide any reader with a sound basis on which to deliver community development learning.

This is a pack which could be used in many contexts for initial teacher, facilitator or trainer training, with the added bonus that it is free to the target users.

Highly recommended.

Jim Crawley, 16/5/01. Try visiting
'Teaching and Learning - but not as we know it'


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