If you are an Active Citizens facilitator, you can use any of the tools and techniques below to help you deliver your workshops.
This gives you ideas of how you could structure and tailor a workshop for different audience groups, plus suggested activities. You can also find a delivery checklist and sample workshop timetable in the downloads section at the end.
Make a delivery checklist
Once you're ready to design your workshop, there are important considerations when it comes to the delivery details.
For example, will you need to perform a baseline survey to assess your participants' knowledge and skills? Have you included time at the end for participants to reflect on their learning?
Make sure you've got everything covered. Download our delivery checklist, available in the downloads section below.
Brainstorming allows participants to share lots of ideas quickly and without fear. This is a useful way to encourage creative thinking and dialogue.
Here's how to organise an effective brainstorming activity:
- Select a topic and ask the group to share their ideas. For example, ‘What activities could we undertake to raise awareness of our campaign?’ or ‘What do we think are the drivers of conflict?’
- Write the participants’ ideas on a large sheet of paper. Tell the group that, for now, we are not making judgements on whether we agree or disagree with the ideas. This will encourage participants to get involved.
- Once the group has provided a wide range of ideas, work with them to cluster, discuss and focus on points of interest.
Think, Pair, Share
'Think, Pair, Share' encourages participants to reflect thoughtfully before sharing their ideas either in a pair or a group. This is a useful way to build confidence and encourage greater participation.
Here's how to run a Think, Pair, Share activity:
- Ask participants to reflect on a question on their own, writing down their thoughts.
- Now, ask participants to share their thoughts in pairs.
- Next, get them to do it in larger groups. You can then take feedback from the most important points made by each group.
In place of step two, you could also ask participants to share the points made by their partner to the wider group. This encourages active listening.
Debriefs are used to reflect on and reinforce the learning that has emerged from an activity. They are also important for identifying how participants are feeling. This will help you decide what needs to happen next.
It’s usually a good idea to prepare your debrief in advance. Think carefully and choose questions that are related to the activity.
Here are some example questions you could include:
- How did you feel during that activity?
- Why did you feel that way?
- What did you learn during that activity?
- Are there different perspectives?
- How can we learn from this activity to help us during this workshop and as Active Citizens?
Gallery walks get participants to stand up, move around and engage visually as well as verbally. They allow participants to share and reflect on lots of ideas in quick succession.
Here's how to run a gallery walk:
- Place text and images around the room.
- Invite participants to move around the room either on their own, in pairs or in small groups. Let them know if you want them to take a particular route.
- Tell participants what you would like them to reflect on at each of the gallery walk 'stops'.
- Debrief the group after the walk.
Prioritising can help you move a discussion from a wide range of ideas to focusing on just a few.
There are many approaches to prioritising. It is important to be transparent about the process in advance. Here are some techniques to help your participants decide how to prioritise their ideas during a discussion:
A voting process
- Write discussion options on a flip chart.
- Ask participants to write their initials by the options they prefer. Give them two votes each. You could also invite participants to write their preferences on a slip of paper and put them in a box (to keep the vote confidential).
- The issues with the most votes are chosen.
- Invite your participants to share their perspectives about various options that are up for discussion.
- Get them to weigh up the merits of each before deciding where to focus.
Evaluating according to criteria
- Get participants to agree on a set of criteria to help them in their decision making.
- Work through each of the available options, rating them against the criteria.
World Cafés can be used to generate ideas and discussion about a wide range of topics. You can also use World Cafés to encourage participants to find answers to their own questions, including finding out more about the Active Citizens programme.
Participants set the agenda for a discussion. Here's how to run a World Café activity:
- Set the room up like a café with groups of people (at least five) sitting at different tables.
- Place a different question in the centre of each table. Think carefully to choose questions that matter to the participants.
- Invite participants to discuss the question.
- Identify someone who is prepared to act as the 'table host'. The host should capture the key discussion points.
- After an agreed period of time has passed, ask participants to change tables. The table host does not change tables.
- Give each new group a summary of any previous conversations around the question before inviting them to continue the conversation.
Open Space is an approach that encourages a group to define their own agenda, timings, roles, responsibilities and even the venue.
After an initial session as a whole, get your group to break into several smaller groups. Participants can choose to address any issue. For example, they could complete a previous discussion or start a new one. Individuals are allowed to circulate freely between groups.
This approach recognises that some of the best and most productive dialogue happens at the most unstructured periods. For example, think about the type of conversations you have during coffee breaks at a conference or workshop.
Participants should spend as little time as possible as a whole group (only at the beginning and end of the day) and should not be managed by a group of facilitators.