[OSList] A new term for 'facilitation'? was: Teach Them to Fish / A Note to My Friends

Bernhard Weber weberb at gmx.at
Sat Feb 25 22:53:24 PST 2012

Hi again

The last years I was again and again discussing adequate wording of our "interventions" as consultants, facilitators (in German: ModeratorInnen, BegleiterInnen), trainers...
With myself and others.

There was the classical "Change Management" (Consultancy) which we substituted by Change Facilitators, mainly because it had become evident, that you can not "manage" change (at least not in the classical sense of management, which has (the possibility) of control at its core. 

Of course "facilitate" has a connotation of "making things easy" which is not necessarily what I understand by facilitating. Let me go back to the teacherlearner example: sometimes there was more learning happening when I did not make things easier, sometimes I was building barriers for my students. 

For me "facilitating" (in contrast to "helping") has a lot to do with systemic perception/action: finding a good setting, trying to find ways of improving the conditions of learning, indirect interventions but also breaking down the walls between classical "training/learning" and "(group work) facilitation" by contributing to learning whilst problem-solving or, more positively, whilst "solution inquiring", with a longer term perspective of "capacity building" (in its complex dynamics between persons/groups/organizations/environment alias micro/makro).

In that sense I could use the word "facilitation" to make clear that I was not speaking of old approaches and that we should not go back from a systematic systemic perspective. This  also gave me a good feeling of beeing "progressive", although or because it was clear that I had squeezed in a lot into this 'innocent word' 
And the term 'facilitation' made quite some carreer (especially outside of the english-speaking world as a 'foreign word'.

But maybe  it is time to look for a better word in the sense of the aspects that are emerging during  this "Fishing Discussion". 
I can understand why you avoided the word 'to facilitate' but a wording like 'helping to learn' does not seem to be a step forward, to the contrary. Both wordings evidently need a lot of explanation about "in the sense of...." And for me this is an indicator that we should perhaps look out for another wording, ....

That includes (or is able to include) what I have uttered in my previous postings  to that thread, and much of what others have contributed here, especially that term should be able to include also "Learning the art of silence seems to be much more rewarding for both for there's no Godot with fish in hands." (Stanley Park) and also "hat the facilitator should not be the 'catalyst' or 'interventionist' but more the 'nutritionist'" and "our roles before the event, during and afterwards" and the role of "'conscious non-interventionist'" (Lisa Heft), the empowerment/dis-empowerment-contradiction and the 'sequence ... Fish Distributors, Fishing Teachers, and then “Gone fish ‘in” – looking for other fish to fry'(HO), not forgetting that we have to care that 'nobody pollutes the environment in the meantime and that there is still fish to fish....  (Joanne)... 

and - whilst again using such heavy loaded wording - never forgetting that the base self-organization in its non-logic/Yin-Yang/dialectical movements, the last term allowing us, to never reduce ourselves to the either/or thinking (so, eg. depending on the context to also be catalyst, interventionist and nutritionist and e.g. also understanding the sequence Fish Distributor, Fishing Teachers, ... Fishing-Zen (Diane G.) masters/students.... not necessarily as a step-after-step-sequence but consisting of aspects to phase in, be 'dominant' phase out, the 'sequence' beeing parallel and interdependent processes like as 'overlapping threads' of changing intensity. 

Well, reading over my own text once again, I get the impression, that it is not possible to find such a Superword, but playing around, looking out for a new and better word might be fun. In fact that is, what we are implicitely ALSO doing here all the time right now in this list. 

Hmm. maybe we have to change the context.

I do not know. Any ideas?


P.S. regarding the "nutricionist" role: Two year ago I experimented with that in a non-metaphorical sense: to contribute a discussion process of adequate change facilitation approaches  in our Change Facilitation s.r.o. company I invited Rik Berbé (one of the other members of our company management team) to come to my home in Vienna/Austria for a two day workshop. Instead of preparing contents, methods, program etc. I prepared food and drinks, plenty of choices, healthy, not too heavy, .... (well the kind of snacks you would always like to have in a perfect OST event environment) and during our 2-person workshop I concentrated on two roles (participant and barman). We had a wonderful workshop and Rik who was at the beginning very amazed about such an approach agreed, that caring for the best possible environment in the sense of beeing a 'nutricionist' was a very useful role aspect I had contributed. 
Not only ;-)

On Feb 25, 2012, at 11:46 PM, Artur Silva wrote:

> Yes, Bernardo, you are right. Sometimes one must give the fish, teach to fish and also help learning how to learn. 
> You are also right that this "to help to learnr" is indeed "to facilitate". I avoided the term because quite often - as HO mentioned - many people think (and do) "facilitate too much", disempowering the other and making more difficult for him to learn by himself.
> And your story in Mozambique (Beira) is marvelous.
> Abraço
> Artur
> From: Bernhard Weber <weberb at gmx.at>
> To: Artur Silva <arturfsilva at yahoo.com>; World wide Open Space Technology email list <oslist at lists.openspacetech.org> 
> Sent: Saturday, February 25, 2012 4:43 AM
> Subject: Re: [OSList] Teach Them to Fish / A Note to My Friends
> Yes Artur, 
> based on my own life and working experience, meanwhile most of it in Ex-colonized countries, our job is, to HELP (I would meanwhile formulate it in a more systemic-adequate way: FACILITATE) to learn, to learn how to learn (as a way of being) and - though inicially accepting the Teacher-Student "Übertragung" (S. Freud, that means also: including the Gegen-Übertragung)- learn how to disappear.
> Only one thing. Let us not be put into a perception and thinking limiting TRANCE by strictly following logic thinking. That means there are times, when the logical either/or is simply not the best solution or even not human. So there may be cases where we give the fish AND teach to fish. Or give the fish under conditions that fishing is learned.
> I still remember the blind beggars in Beira, who got only money from me if they accepted to go to the training center for blind people and look if they would not be interested to be trained for a job there.
> Bernardo
> On Feb 24, 2012, at 6:49 PM, Artur Silva wrote:
>> Amen for almost everything! And thank you, Harrison, for reminding us of all this.
>> (...)

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