In the 2005 movie Coach Carter, Samuel L. Jackson plays a high school basketball coach challenged with developing his team into successful students, competitors, and citizens. He does this by holding them accountable to high standards: schoolwork, proper behavior, and a strong level of play. Most importantly, though, he holds them accountable to each other.
Perhaps the most moving scene in the movie occurs at a practice, where one player has failed to complete his punishment of running laps and doing pushups. Coach Carter informs him that he can no longer play on the team because he fell 500 pushups short of his goal. Just as practice ends, however, one player steps up and says, “I’ll do pushups for him. You said we’re a team. One person struggles, we all struggle. One player triumphs, we all triumph right?” The entire team joins in, collectively completing the punishment and uplifting their teammate.
This scene’s power comes from neither impressive athletic accomplishments nor an influential speech; rather, the team finds success through collaborative effort. The coach has built a culture of teamwork and accountability. A similar culture can make your responsible fatherhood program more effective.
Group facilitation is a crucial skill in delivering fatherhood services. By bringing participants together, you have the potential to create an accountable, trusting, supportive network of fathers. This skill involves thoughtful planning, preparation, and execution. Service providers must develop authentic, purposeful, and tailored programming that allows participants to actively engage with the material.
Here are five common traits of successful group facilitation:
- Plan Purposefully
Quality programming starts with preparation. Facilitators with deep knowledge of their content can quickly build trust and credibility in a group setting. You will also be more effective if you have received training in any curriculum or approach you plan on using. Plan your lessons with the long-term goals of the program in mind; this will help you maintain clear, consistent messaging over time. While time-consuming, careful planning will allow you to stay organized, on task, and efficient in your sessions.
Submitted by Fatherhood.gov
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