ABC Facilitators Manual
The educational field calls our way of teaching and learning “experiential.” It is education in its truest form, tapping into the experience of the participants to elicit “the exchange of information.” We create an environment in which a group can together explore issues of bullying, drawing forth from one another a deeper understanding of how these issues affect our lives as individuals and as a society. The emphasis is on the real-life experiences that the facilitators and participants bring to class. These experiences inform the readings. The readings illuminate the experiences. The exercises open everyone to the process.
ABC has been a transformative experience for all those who have been involved. Invariably, the lives or participants and instructors are never quite the same. The ripple effect allows ongoing conversation about being a bully, a victim, or a witness in the larger context of society, as well as in individual situations. We believe deeply in social change and see ABC as one way to make that happen—one person at a time.
You don’t have to be an expert, a trained teacher, or an experienced public speaker. You don’t have to have a college degree. However, volunteers are required to take our facilitator training. An ABC program coordinator will provide training sessions prior to classes being taught; the facilitator trainee then attends these classes. The training is structured in a very experiential, hands-on way. In fact, it is modeled after a successful pilot training project from a prison setting. Many of the approaches we take and exercises we use throughout the training were developed and tested during that project. We find that they help to create group cohesiveness and to facilitate analysis and exploration. Also, conducting the training in this way provides an opportunity to receive direct feedback from you that may help modify the course to be even more effective in the future.
This form of training allows you to learn new techniques, acquire information from other experienced facilitators, and ask questions. Facilitators are then encouraged to meet with each other, read/practice the exercises, and talk about them in an effort to master the lessons and techniques.
This process is very important for quality control and to maintain the ABC standards and expectations. It keeps the teachings universal so we can maintain universal results.
While we have facilitated this program many times, each time the great diversity in participants make every session different. The experiences of the students, the insights of the day’s lessons, interaction among the group — all combine to make the words and pictures fresh, as if we were encountering them for the first time.
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This manual is the companion book to the ABC Workbook. The workbook lays out the basic course on a day-by-day basis. The manual describes the ABC philosophy and experience in detail, including the exercises that are used throughout the workshop sessions, the goals and objectives for each week, the themes and processes for small and large discussions, and any instructions that may be necessary for conducting individual sessions. The manual also provides facilitators with additional material (i.e., exercises, ideas, and information) that augments the focal points in the workbook.
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