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Topic audience

In my early Talk Time days, I wrote very simple materials – a few sentences or paragraph about something that happened to me or someone I knew, followed by a handful of questions tied to a common word or theme.  There were no instructions to either facilitator or participants. 

Since 2008, I’ve been writing topics with lots of bells and whistles.  There’s a warmup question or two, a story, some pair time, more questions, suggested role plays, a web link.  There are instructions at certain points like: “Discuss in pairs or groups of three.”

But are these instructions to the facilitator or the participants?  I think I’m appealing to the participants here, in hopes that they will rise up and demand the opportunity to discuss the questions in pairs, if the facilitator neglects to arrange them so for at least part of the session.  I sometimes feel as though I’m dueling with unknown faciliators who seek to thwart my purpose in putting together these topic sheets.  If I put the words “pair work” in a really large font, will the facilitators be more apt to try it?

But, my thin little slip of a topic sheet really can’t force anyone to do anything.  Facilitators have to be sensitive and inventive, able to assess what’s going on with the participants and feel free to skip over questions, ignore suggestions and toss the thing in the waste basket if it isn’t serving the participants well.

So, who am I writing for?  The participants.  If they aren’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.




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