Resource Orientation

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In citizenship education the impact of a training or seminar approves in practice - often far long after our work as facilitators is done. When participants need to take the next steps into practice independently from us, we could strengthen their self-esteem and trust in their already existing knowledge and skills. This idea of resource orientation contrasts with the approach of deficit orientation in trainings.

Resource Orientation

Deficit Orientation

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  • Takes into account participants’ existing knowledge and expertise
  • Focuses on options and possibilities
  • Focuses on developments
  • Identifies learning material within the process

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  • Based on teachers’ or experts’ knowledge and expertise
  • Elaborates on the complexities and disadvantages of various options
  • Emphasizes on the learning material
  • Defines of learning material in advance

As resource-oriented facilitators, we can strengthen learners’ self-esteem and trust in their existing knowledge and skills. We might also create an atmosphere that fosters a critical view of skill development. It makes a difference to learners whether you present yourself as a “glass-is-half-empty” or a “glass-is-half-full” type of person and if you apply this perspective to them. This is not a question of methodology, rather of attitude – the right method and the wrong attitude simply don't fit together.

One way to show this attitude is to interact with the group. Be willing to share resources if you expect your participants to do so as well. Tell them about your experiences if you want them to share their own. Show a supportive attitude and mobilize solidarity with participants if you expect them to develop a trustful and open atmosphere for deeper experiential learning.

The attitude proves its worth in practice, especially in complex situations such as a lack of time, a goal dilemma or a conflict. Keeping this in mind, we remain friendly, active facilitators, no matter how challenging the circumstances are.

Facilitators take participants’ needs seriously by...

  • Relating to others in a authentic and empathic way
  • Adjusting the methods and the plan according to participants’ wishes
  • Letting the group decide and accepting their decisions
  • Appreciating the participants’ resources
  • Explaining their needs as facilitators
  • Making learning steps and goals transparent

Measuring Developments

Facilitators may observe or measure a development, the degree of knowledge and to some extent as well, how able a person is to use his or her skills. These informations help our participants to motivate for further self-learning. Unfortunately our power is limited here and all depends from a student's willingness to activate this experience later.


Created By nez


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E. Heublein, N. Zimmermann

Holistic Learning

Second Handbook for Facilitators: Read more