Professional and Organizational Development Network in Higher Education


Date of this Version



Essays on Teaching Excellence: Toward the Best in the Academy (2009-2010) 21(1)


Copyright 2010, Kathy Takayama. Used by permission


Facilitating discussions requires the ability to engage different perspectives and skills in response to the needs of the group. How well a group works together depends upon the dynamics among participants and the ability of the facilitator to gauge and respond to these dynamics. An effective facilitator works to create an inclusive learning environment while being prepared to set boundaries and rules when necessary. Yet, even experienced facilitators can be confronted with situations or individuals that prevent the group from functioning. Such situations are even more daunting for new faculty and graduate student Teaching Assistants (TAs) who are new to leading groups.