Small Group Facilitators
The Role of Small Group Facilitators:
A crucial part of the ‘Building Bridges: Interfaith Dialogue in Schools’ Program is the small groups, each led by a young adult facilitator. It is their role to foster an environment of safety, trust and respect among the students in the program, especially in their small group. More specifically, they are required to:
- Model the values of the program (openness to all the experiences and views expressed; a respectful attitude to all; a calm demeanour to relax the students; and a genuine interest in, and commitment to all the members of their small group);
- Lead and guide the small group discussion through the set questions, and their own open-ended questions of the students;
- Express a curiosity and enthusiastic interest in each student’s experience through their posture and non-verbal behaviour, and through the questions they ask of each participant;
- Encourage participation of all the students in all activities in the program, both inside and outside their small group;
- Manage the time and dynamics of the group by respectfully moderating the dominant members and gently encouraging the quieter members of the group to participate as fully as they feel comfortable;
- Report any current, ongoing abuse (physical, or sexual) or concern about a person’s wellbeing to the Building Bridges Program’s Regional Co-ordinator and the appropriate agency, e.g. The Department of Human Services or the Government-funded national counselling service for family/domestic violence: 1800 737 732).
Each Small Group Facilitator receives:
- Building Bridges Small Group Facilitators’ Training;
- One Facilitator’s handbook that contains all the activities and small group questions of all five sessions;
- An honorarium ($30) for each session they attend, to help cover their costs. This is given (or deposited into their bank accounts) at the end of each year;
- The dates of sessions in each region for that particular year, so they may nominate the region they are most available to participate in for that year.
There is a Building Bridges Alumni Facebook Group, for all facilitators to connect with each other and continue to engage in inter-faith and interpersonal dialogues beyond the School Program during the year.
Who is eligible to become a facilitator?
Small Group Facilitators in the Building Bridges in Schools program need to be:
- Young people, between 20-35 years of age (approximately), who can easily build a rapport with students who are aged between 14-16 years old;
- Interested, open and non-prejudicial to a wide range of religious convictions, experiences and practice, across all the religious traditions;
- Committed to the aims and values of the Building Bridges program, namely, to help students build bridges of mutual understanding, trust and respect across their religious, cultural, and socio-economic differences, through honest, respectful dialogue and informal activities;
- Protective of the safe environment of the program by preventing all imposition of any belief, practice, sectarian interest or agenda onto any others;
- Aware of the key practices and beliefs of the five main religious traditions in Australia: Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam;
- Capable of helping teenagers explore and elaborate on their experiences of life and faith, wherever possible;
- Intent on keeping the focus of the group’s sharing on the students’ and not their own views, including deflecting questions from themselves;
- Competent to manage a small group, including:
- Giving each student sufficient opportunity to share their experiences;
- Ensuring the group environment is safe and respectful;
- Some experience and knowledge of handling rowdy or overly talkative students, or quieter less expressive students; and
- Tackling inappropriate behaviour as necessary.
- Not a teacher of any of the students in their small group;
- Committed to participate in all five sessions at the different schools;
- Able to maintain confidentiality of what is shared by students within their small group;
- Willing to dress modestly, in neat, casual, non-promotional clothes to all sessions.
- Trained in small group facilitation through one of the official Building Bridges training sessions;
- Accepted by the Director of the Building Bridges in Schools Program, after signing the Terms of Agreement/Understanding online document for all facilitators in the program.