Facilitating & Introversion: Tips for Engaging Quiet People

We recently read a great piece on bringing out the gifts of introverted people over at NCDD supporting member Janice Thomson’s blog, Citizenize-Citizenise. Janice has been working with the Chicago chapter of the International Association of Facilitators on developing resources for effectively engaging quieter folks, and we think they could be quite useful to our members. You can read Janice’s piece below or find the original here.

“Stop the madness for constant group work. Just stop it!” pleads Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. Group work, she claims, stifles some of the most insightful and creative thinkers and inflates the influence of extroverts. To generate the best ideas, workplaces and schools need to provide more solitude for deep reflection and creative thinking.

As a facilitator, her critiques made me wonder. Do the group processes I use marginalize important voices and perspectives? Is it possible to design meetings and workshops to fully involve introverted participants? I started a conversation around these questions with fellow facilitator Margaret Sullivan and together we designed a workshop to test our ideas and learn from others.

This blog summarizes learning from our “Facilitating Introverts” workshop held May 16, 2014 with the International Association of Facilitators (IAF), Chicago chapter. We warmly invite additional suggestions for how to include introverts in meetings and workshops!

What’s an introvert?

The concept of introversion originated with psychologist Carl Jung who noticed that people tend to be energized either by going inward in quiet reflection (introverts) or outward in interactions with people (extroverts). Later personality theorists added concepts like how one processes information, sensitivity to novelty and stimulation, and attitudes toward privacy and public attention.

Spectrum of Introversion Photo: Al Rush

Introversion/extroversion is a spectrum (see top photo). The population is roughly equally divided between the two halves and most people fall somewhere toward the middle. Although most people can function in both introverted and extroverted ways, they prefer one or the other. So, traditional group work, which is designed for extroverts, can indeed disadvantage introverts. To rectify this imbalance, it is necessary to first understand the special needs and gifts of introverts.

Importantly, since nobody functions exclusively as an introvert or extrovert, it would in fact be more accurate to discuss facilitating introversion or incorporating introverted processes into group work. This however is linguistically and conceptually cumbersome. So, for clarity, we simply use the term “introverts”.

Needs and gifts of introverts

Reflecting on the ideas of personality theorists and considering group situations that challenge introverts, we created a list of needs and gifts of introverts relevant to group work.

Important themes include:

  • Managing energy. Introverts are drained by social interaction and need alone time to recharge.
  • Processing time. Introverts take in lots of multi-layered information. They may therefore need more time than extroverts to process information, reflect, and decide what to say. They also need to understand expectations so they may prepare in advance.
  • Privacy and caution. Introverts do not like to call attention to themselves and can be reticent to share their ideas — especially if they are not yet fully formed or may provoke conflict.
  • Meaning and focus. Introverts are drawn to meaningful conversations and can go deep into subjects. Conversely, they get overwhelmed when multiple themes are discussed simultaneously.
  • Deep listening. Introverts can be very attentive listeners. They may notice things and make connections that extroverts miss. They also ask great questions.
  • Writing and non-verbal expression. Many introverts prefer to communicate in ways other than talking and may be skilled at writing or drawing.
  • Creativity and imagination. Introverts have rich inner lives which can lead them to uncover valuable insights and generate creative solutions.

Tools and techniques to involve introverts

Using these needs and gifts, we brainstormed tools and techniques to help introverts feel comfortable, meet their needs, and share their gifts in group work. We then added ideas culled from online facilitator forums and workshop discussions. We offer this initial list of tools and techniques for facilitating introverts to facilitators as thought-starters in designing group processes.

An introvert-friendly workshop

To demonstrate what an “introvert-friendly” workshop might look like, the methods we used in our own “Facilitating Introverts” workshop and why we chose them are described below.

I. Arrival and Dinner

Arriving at a meeting or workshop can be uncomfortable for introverts, especially if they don’t know anyone. So it’s important to consciously design an experience to put them at ease. We provided:

Photo: Al Rush

Visible agenda. Introverts like to know what to expect, including when they may need to contribute. We displayed a large visual agenda at arrival and reviewed it at the start of the workshop.

Greeter and host. While extroverts can just dive into unstructured social situations, introverts welcome some assistance. Participants were met by a greeter at a registration table and a “host” who mingled and made sure everyone was comfortable – e.g., introducing people and suggesting activities.

Nonverbal check-in. Fun, non-verbal activities done at one’s own pace can be an easy warm-up and help facilitate connections. We invited participants to write their mood on a colored shape and place it on an introversion-extroversion spectrum chart. This also introduced a core concept of our workshop, showed who was in the room, and provided a “temperature check”.

Reflection pond. This served as both “graffiti wall” and “parking lot”. Introverts don’t like to draw attention to themselves or provoke conflict so it’s good to offer ways to share anonymously. They can also get overwhelmed when multiple topics are discussed simultaneously. So it’s useful to use methods like “parking lots” to keep conversations focused.

Dinner choices. It’s important to never label a person or activity as “introvert” or “extrovert”, but rather to offer choices that allow participants to manage their own energy. For dinner, we offered three options: mingling informally, sitting in small groups, or participating in a facilitated “role play” game. We also kept novelty and stimulation low by providing familiar food (pizza) and calming music.

Role play dinner. Since introverts may be reticent to draw attention to themselves, role play games can help them speak more freely. We created a scenario where five famous introverts and five famous extroverts worked together on a project team. Participants described how their character (e.g., Eleanor Roosevelt, Marie Antoinette, etc.) would feel and behave in different group situations. This provided both structured group interaction and a playful introduction to workshop themes.

Flexible meeting space. We chose a meeting space, the Thinkubator, that provides many seating options, nooks and crannies, and an outdoor deck for different types of group interaction and solo breaks.

II. Opening

After introducing the topic, we created community agreements that included:

  • Moment of silence. Because introverts take in so much information, they sometimes need extra time to “catch up”. To create opportunities for this, we created “silence” signs anyone could use to request the group to be quiet for a few minutes – no explanation needed.
  • Breaks. Introverts sometimes need alone time to recharge. So we gave participants permission to take a break at any time, for any reason, no questions asked.
  • OK to pass. Introverts sometimes need additional time to formulate their thoughts. So, in structured go-arounds and sharing times, participants can “pass” and talk later.
  • Don’t hold back. “Quieter people” were reminded that they too have contributions valuable to the group and not to “hold back” sharing.

Homework and paired sharing. Introverts like to come prepared to meetings. Assigning homework is one way to achieve this. We asked participants to watch Susan Cain’s TED Talk to prepare. The first social interaction was low-key: sharing one thing learned from this video with one’s neighbor.

III. Needs and Gifts

An individual “scenario reflection” exercise was used to identify introverts’ needs and gifts. Three situations were described that can be challenging to introverts: 1) arriving at a meeting of strangers, 2) being asked to share one’s viewpoint early in a meeting, and 3) a meeting on a contentious issue.

To share ideas, we planned a structured go-around using a talking stick. This gives introverts the floor without them having to ask for it, but also lets them “pass” and speak later if they aren’t ready to talk.

IV. Tools and Techniques

We began with individual brainstorming, followed by a 20 minute discussion in groups of 3-4 people to modify and add to our initial list of tools and techniques. Especially with introverts, it’s important to begin brainstorming individually. A group size of 3-4 people allows sharing, but is comfortable to introverts.

Here’s a 1 minute video of the entire workshop (thanks to Gerald and Steve at the Thinkubator):

V. Post-event

Introverts often get their best ideas after a meeting or workshop – i.e., once they’ve had time to fully process its content and reflect alone on its meaning. So it’s important to provide a method, such as an online forum, to continue sharing and discussion after the event. That is one goal of this blog.

What do you think?

Margaret and I are sharing this blog with both the Chicago IAF workshop participants and the broader facilitation community. We invite suggestions of additional tools and techniques, needs and gifts, and thoughts on “facilitating introverts”. Please leave your comments below in “Leave A Reply”. You may also post a comment on the Chicago IAF Facebook page or Linked In group.

If there is sufficient interest, we might offer this workshop again, perhaps in modified or expanded form. Please use the contact form to let me know of your interest in organizing or assisting with a future workshop.

You can find the original version of this blog piece at www.janicethomson.net/facilitating-introverts-eliciting-the-gifts-of-the-quiet-ones.

The Cost of a Free and Undivided Republic

It’s unclear where the first Memorial Day took place. The U.S. ceremony emerged from the Civil War, but as the Department of Veteran’s Affairs explains, “Approximately 25 places have been named in connection with the origin of Memorial Day, many of them in the South where most of the war dead were buried.”

Nonetheless, in 1966, “Congress and President Lyndon Johnson officially declared Waterloo, N.Y., the birthplace of Memorial Day.” I can only imagine how my Southern brothers and sisters feel about that.

Speaking of which, eleven Southern states recognize “Confederate Memorial Day” – an observation on which the now generalized Memorial Day was based.

One story broadening Memorial Day to honor the Northern dead comes out of Columbus, Missouri. On April 25, 1866: A group of women visited a cemetery to decorate the graves of Confederate soldiers who had fallen in battle at Shiloh. Nearby were the graves of Union soldiers, neglected because they were the enemy. Disturbed at the sight of the bare graves, the women placed some of their flowers on those graves, as well.

This early group of mourners made a conscious choice to recognize all the dead. Not just their dead. All the dead.

At that moment of grief and hope and pain, disturbed at the sight of the bare graves, it did not matter who had won and who had lost, it did not matter who was friend and who was foe. All that mattered was that good men had died, and good men deserve to be mourned.

Whether you believe war to be a necessary evil or an evil beyond necessity, the outcome is always tragic. The cost is always high.

Since first Man took his brother’s life, and the sad world began, as Oscar Wilde says.

In 1868 General Logan ordered his posts to decorate graves of fallen soldiers, saying, “Let no neglect, no ravages of time, testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten as a people the cost of a free and undivided republic.”

The cost is always high. And we should always mourn.

And, disturbed at the sight of the bare graves, we should mourn all those who fall. We should mourn every brave hero and every life cut short. We should mourn every brutal act and every brutal reaction. We should mourn with the greater angels of our nature that men commit acts so heinous war seems a solution.

We should mourn, we must mourn. But more than mourn, we should do better.


teaching in Mexico City

This week I will be in Mexico City, working with a group of social science professors from the Tecnológico de Monterrey. We will investigate “civic studies,” which I summarized in my last post. It will be an intensive short course, so I will go offline for the duration and not post here this week. Although I am extremely interested in the world’s third-most-populous metro area, I don’t think I will be able to explore it much; my focus will be in the classroom.

The post teaching in Mexico City appeared first on Peter Levine.

99 Ideas for Making Your Town More Playful from CM

CM_logo-200pxAs summer approaches, you may be looking for ways to make your neighborhood, town, or city more fun and engaging. If you are, our friends at CommunityMatters have a ton of ideas for way you can do that!

CM recently shared two posts (here and here) with ideas for making your space more engaging and out of the ordinary. So to help give you food for thought for the summer months, we put the lists together below. They also hosted a conference call about it called Creating Fun Places that you can listen to here.

We hope these ideas will get your creative juices flowing and help you make your summer more interesting! Thanks to CM staffer Caitlyn Horose for putting all of these together!

75 Seriously Fun Ways to Make Your Town More Playful

  1. Join the CommunityMatters conference call on play and placemaking 
  2. Turn the subway into a swing set 
  3. Munch people with your eyes

    Photo credit: Audrey Penven

  4. Turn your street into a Play Street 
  5. Let sidewalks be trampolines
  6. Play pong with traffic lights
  7. Transform a set of stairs into a piano
  8. Give pedestrians the keys to your city
  9. Host a hummingbirdman rally
  10. Embed games in public seating
  11. Think more like a roller coaster designer
  12. Rethink the public library as a place for play
  13. Start a citywide festival of play
  14. Challenge people to try alternative transportation
  15. Create a local currency, then turn it into a game
  16. Get all ethereal and make a playground in the air
  17. Install a swing just about anywhere
  18. Make a plan for engaging your community in play
  19. Give everyone on the street a nametag for a day
  20. Turn your laundromat into an art studio
  21. Paste silly thoughtbubbles in your neighborhood
  22. Fix crumbling infrastructure with legos
  23. Make cupcakes for strangers
  24. Transform a bike lane into a video game
  25. Knit your bridge

    Photo credit: flickr user Mr. T in DC

  26. Create space for sharing compliments among friends
  27. Organize a public play day
  28. Play a massive game, like megasoccer
  29. Try out tiny game, like dum-dum
  30. Turn shopping into a game
  31. Create a playground for adults
  32. Make friends in a ball pit
  33. Create a virtual block party
  34. Turn a parking lane into a mini golf course
  35. Use stickers to brainstorm new ideas
  36. Pretend an urban space is way more wild
  37. Use your smartphone to create a scavenger hunt wherever you are
  38. Have more fun with bike paths. Can you say “Whoopdeedoo?
  39. Install playful public seating
  40. Make your sidewalk sound like the ocean (or a farm)
  41. Replace stairs with slides
  42. Experiment with shadows
  43. Stop littering with a fun trashcan
  44. Play games with found bottlecaps
  45. Transform bus stops into swingsets
  46. Imagine a more playful playground
  47. Use a public fountain as a pool
  48. Pledge to be more playful
  49. Start a DIY neighborhood summer camp
  50. Share toys at a neighborhood gathering place
  51. Play trash bin basketball
  52. Build your own cardboard arcade
  53. Reimagine bus stops
  54. Turn your neighborhood into an art project
  55. Organize a playground tour
  56. Increase access to play

    Photo credit: Paul Krueger

  57. Make your city a Playful City USA
  58. Create a neighborhood golf course with help from a smartphone
  59. Have fun with secret spaces
  60. Paint those ugly utility boxes
  61. Build a pop-up playground
  62. Cause scenes with a prank collective inspired by Improv Everywhere
  63. Add color to crosswalks
  64. Soften your sidewalk
  65. Rethink building facades
  66. Install creative bike parking
  67. Find a new use for that old phone booth
  68. What’s more fun than a colorful piazza?
  69. Paint a bridge like it is built with legos
  70. Upgrade a chain-link fence
  71. Write memories of childhood play all over your street
  72. Create a pop-up play shop
  73. Organize a street party
  74. Add some life to your parking meters
  75. Drats! We need one more idea to get to #75. Help us out by sharing your thoughts in the comments below!

That was the initial list. But then a few weeks later after lots of suggestions, CM came up with 25 more fun ideas:

25 (More) Ways to Make Your Town More Playful

  1. Add cheer to the streets with tiny notes.
  2. Host a temporary tattoo parlor.
  3. Get out on the street with a popcorn machine.  Idea from @wemakegood
  4. Three words: Cardboard Animal Picnic. Inspired by Patrick McDonnell
  5. Stop standing and start sitting with bench bombing.
  6. Install a Givebox Idea from @wanderingzito
  7. Start a bell box mural project.
  8. Conduct pointless surveys.  Idea from @uncustomaryart
  9. Put on a one man (or woman) flash mob.  Another idea from @uncustomaryart
  10. Build a treehouse for grownups.
  11. Transform a decaying building into a folding public theater.  Idea from @Kaid_at_NRDC
  12. Use scaffolding as a place to linger.
  13. Turn heartbeats into music.
  14. Create a mini golf course in an empty parking lot.
  15. Remind strangers that they are beautiful.
  16. Play around with baggage carousels.
  17. Establish Living Innovation Zones.
  18. Install temporary, lego-like bike lanes.
  19. Fill your city with friendly robotic trash cans.
  20. Bubble your city.
  21. Host a stilt walking tournament Idea from Bill “Stretch” Coleman
  22. Have a little fun with curb-side sewers.
  23. Turn your alley into a movie theater.  Idea from Debbie in Fort Collins, Colorado
  24. Plant a vacant lot with cabbage. Lots of it. Idea from Barry Thomas
  25. Host a chalk art festival.  Idea from Kelli at KickstartFarmington.org

Still hungry for inspiration? Listen to CommunityMatters’ conference call on Creating Fun Places, featuring Mike Lanza of Playborhood and Brian Corrigan of Oh Heck Yeah.

Affective Labor as the Lifeblood of a Commons

We have so internalized the logic of neoliberal economics and modernity, even those of us who would like to think otherwise, that we don’t really appreciate how deeply our minds have been colonized.  It is easy to see homo economicus as silly.  Certainly we are not selfish, utility-maximizing rationalists, not us!  And yet, the proper role of our emotions and affect in imagining a new order remains a murky topic. 

That’s why I was excited to run across a fascinating paper by Neera M. Singh, an academic who studies forestry at the University of Toronto.  Her paper, “The Affective Labor of Growing Forests and the Becoming of Environmental Subjects” focuses on “rethinking environmentality” in the Odisha region of India.  (Unfortunately, the article, published in Geoforum (vol. 47, pp. 189-198, in 2013) is behind a paywall.) 

How do people become “environmental subjects” – that is, people who are willing to apply their subjective human talents, imagination and commitments and become stewards of some element of nature?

Singh wanted to investigate why villagers were willing to regenerate degraded state-owned forests through community-based forest conservation efforts.  She found that “affective labor” is critical in managing a forest.  The term comes from Antonio Negri and Michael Hardt, who use it to describe the role that reciprocity, empathy and affect play in shaping human behavior and action. Indeed, other people’s affect influences what kind of “self” we construct for ourselves. 

This whole topic is important because standard economics has its own crudely reductionist idea of who human beings are.  We are “rational, self-interested” economic actors, of course, and most public policy is based on this (erroneous, limited) notion.  Most economists frankly have no interest in exploring how people come to formulate their “self-interest.”  They simply take those interests as given. 

But what if participating in commons produced a very different sort of human perception and subjectivity, and indeed, produced human beings as self-aware subjects/agents?  What if this process could be shown to be essential in integrating human culture with a specific ecological landscape?

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Group Decision Tip: Direction more important than pace

Group Decision Tips IconIn principle, moving quickly often seems like a good idea but moving quickly in the wrong direction simply gets you to the wrong place fast. Most groups have a high need for quick achievement. We have all heard someone say, “Enough talk, let’s just do something!” And we have all seen groups charge off quickly and with much enthusiasm…in the wrong direction.

Practical Tip: Even when under pressure to accomplish something in a hurry, resist the temptation to achieve a quick, although shabby, result. Quality group decisions, like anything of quality, require upfront investment. Determine your objective before springing into action. Spend some time planning. Read the directions. Check out the map. As Bob Dylan says, “I know my song well before I start singing.”

No matter how slowly you go, if you are headed in the right direction you might eventually get there.

Honoring Harvey Milk

harvey_milk_stampYesterday, the United States Postal Service unveiled a stamp honoring Harvey Milk, the first openly gay person elected to public office in the United States.

Milk, elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1977, was assassinated less than a year later along with San Francisco Mayor George Moscone.

The pair were shot and killed on November 27, 1978 by former City Supervisor Dan White.

After frequent clashes with Milk and other Supervisors, White resigned, citing dissatisfaction with the corrupt inner workings of politics. He soon changed his mind, though, and petitioned Mayor Moscone to regain his seat. Moscone ultimately declined this request, reportedly after pressure from Milk and others.

On November 27, 1978 Dan White climbed through a window at City Hall, avoiding metal detectors. He went first to Moscone’s office, fatally shooting the mayor. Done there, he headed to Milk’s office, shooting the City Supervisor five times.

As the New York Times reported in 1985, following White’s eventual suicide: Mr. Milk was one of the nation’s first acknowledged homosexuals to be elected to major public office, and many homosexuals said that was a factor in his death.

In his confession, White described his motivation, saying ”I saw the city as going kind of downhill.”

Following his trial, White was found guilty of voluntary manslaughter – a lesser charge than the first-degree murder which Milk supporters had hoped for.
Growing up, I was always told that White was let off the hook after his lawyers argued he’d been driven mad by eating too many Twinkies. While not not quite accurate, that’s how this “Twinkie defense” is remembered in collective culture. Too many Twinkies made him do it.The actual argument isn’t much better – that White’s switch to a sugary diet of Twinkies was indicative of the deep depression he was suffering.And all this American history is now captured on a 49 cent stamp bearing Harvey Milk’s face. Ironically, perhaps, labeled forever.The White House blog post announcing the stamp declared: Milk’s achievements gave hope and confidence to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community in the United States and elsewhere at a time when the community was encountering widespread hostility and discrimination. Milk believed that government should represent all citizens, ensuring equality and providing needed services.At a time when the community was encountering widespread hostility and discrimination.
At a time when…


what should we do?

You are a citizen of a group (regardless of your legal status) if you seriously ask: “What should we do?”

The question is what we should do because the point is not merely to talk but to change the world. Thinking is intrinsically connected to action. We don’t think in focused and disciplined ways about the social world unless we are planning to act; and we don’t think well unless we learn from our experience.

The question is what we should do, not what should be done. It’s easy enough to say what should be done (enact a global tax on carbon, for instance). The tough question is what we can actually achieve. That requires not only taking action but obtaining leverage over larger systems. Since our tools for leverage are mostly institutions, this question requires careful thought about real and possible institutional forms. It is also, by the way, not the question “What should I do?” Of course, that is also important, but I cannot achieve much alone and–worse–I cannot know on my own what I ought to aim for. I must collaborate in order to learn enough about what to do.

The question is what should we do, so it is intrinsically about values and principles. We are not asking “What do we want to do?” or “What biases and preferences do we bring to the topic?” Should implies a struggle to figure out what is right, quite apart from what we may prefer. It is about the best ends or goals and also the best means and strategies. (Or if not the best, at least acceptable ones.)

Finally, the question is what we should do, which implies an understanding of the options, their probabilities of happening, and their likely costs and consequences. These are complex empirical matters, matters of fact and evidence.

Academia generally does not pose the question “What should we do?” The what part is assigned to science and social science, but those disciplines don’t have much to say about the should or the we. Indeed, the scientific method intentionally suppresses the should. In general, philosophy and political theory ask “What should be done?” not “What should we do?” Many professional disciplines ask what specific kinds of professionals should do. But the we must be broader than any professional group.

Civic Studies” is a nascent effort to pose the citizen’s question again. We have an emerging canon of authors, which is merely exemplary and not complete. They are all recent or current thinkers and each offers a distinctive method for combining normative, empirical, strategic, and institutional analysis in the service of action.

I don’t offer my own method but merely some eclectic principles. I think:

Our methods should be interactive and deliberative. I will not decide what we should do; we will. Yet procedures will not suffice. It is not enough to say that a diverse mix of affected people should sit together and decide what to do. If I am seated at that table, I must decide what to advocate and how to weigh other people’s ideas. A deliberative process creates the framework for our discussion, but we still need methods to guide our thinking.

Our methods should be conscious of intellectual limitations. This is what I take from conservative thought: a serious doubt that we will come up with a better plan than what our predecessors devised, what the community in question already does, or what emerges from uncoordinated individual action. That doubt can be overcome by excellent thought; but we must be reasonably cautious and humble about ourselves.

We should not pay excessive attention to ultimate ends, to a theory of the good (let alone the ideal) society. First, the path toward the ideal is probably not direct, so knowing where you ultimately want to go may send you in the opposite direction from where you should set out. Second, we should be just as concerned about avoiding evil as achieving good. Third, our concept of the ideal will evolve, and we should have the humility to recognize that we do not believe what are successors will. And fourth, we are a group that has value– the group may even give our lives the value they have. It is just as important to hold the group together as to move it forward rapidly toward the ideal state.

We should not look for “root causes.” That is a misleading metaphor. Social issues are intertwined and replete with feedback loops and reciprocal causality. There is no root. Sometimes it is better to address an aspect of a problem that seems relatively superficial, rather than attack a more fundamental aspect without success.

Our critique should be “immanent,” in the jargon of the Frankfurt School. That is, we should try to improve the implicit norms of a community rather than imagine that we can import a view from nowhere. However, I would alter the idea of immanent critique in two ways. First, we should not only look for contradictions and hypocrisies. Holding contradictory ideas is a sign of maturity and complexity, not an embarrassment. And if you look for contradictions in order to advance your own view, then you are not actually practicing immanent critique. You’re hoping to score debating points in favor of a position external to the community. The immanent critique I recommend is subtler and more respectful than that. Second, it is not always directed at communities, whether geospatial, ethnic, or political. Sometimes it is directed at practices and fields. In fact, I see special value in intellectual engagement with fields of practice whose expressed aims are appealing but which need help with the details.

Finally, we should pay attention to whether our substantive beliefs are structured so as to permit interaction and learning. The question is not (only) whether you believe in equality or liberty, in God or science. The question is how you use those ideas in your overall thinking. If, for instance, you immediately return to a few core principles, that frustrates deliberation, collaboration, and learning. It is equally damaging to drop ideas quickly in order to avoid conflict. The ideal is genuine intellectual engagement with other people, through both talk and action.

The post what should we do? appeared first on Peter Levine.

Ten Equity & Action Tools from Everyday Democracy

Our organizational partners at Everyday Democracy recently shared a compilation of their top 10 resources for dialogue and deliberation practitioners that we highly encourage you to check out. They provide guidance on issues from incorporating racial equity into our work to training youth facilitators and are valuable tools for deepening our work. You can read more about the resources below or find EvDem’s original post by clicking here.

EvDem LogoOver the past 25 years, our most important source of learning has been from the deep partnerships we have had with formal and informal leaders in communities from every region of the country. People come to us from places of all sizes and demographics, and with a wide variety of histories, assets and concerns. As we have coached them, we have learned with them, and as a result have created and adapted advice and tools that others can learn from and adapt to their particular situations.

Some of the lessons we have learned from our community partners include:

  • How community coalitions can work together to organize large-scale dialogue and action;
  • How to recruit a broad diversity of residents for dialogue, facilitation, and action;
  • How to engage those who are often left out or marginalized;
  • How to frame an issue so that people of all backgrounds and views can find their voice in the conversation;
  • Ways to use an intentional “equity lens” so that organizing, dialogue and action can take into account and address the underlying inequities and power dynamics of the community;
  • How to bridge dialogue and intentional action strategies;
  • How community voice and participation can change the way public instutions such as school systems and police departments work;
  • How to link community voice with policy-making;
  • How to embed dialogue and change processes in the regular culture and practices of the community.

Many of these lessons are captured the tools and advice you will find on our website. The tools that were most frequently clicked on in recent months reflect an interest in applying these lessons in other communities. Here is a sampling of our “readers’ favorites” of the recent past:

1. Facing Racism in a Diverse Nation

This six-session discussion guide helps all kinds of people take part in meaningful dialogue to examine gaps among racial and ethnic groups and create institutional and policy change.

2. Action Road Map Planning Tool

This Action Road Map will help communities walk through the steps we need to take to carry out a plan for action. Using this worksheet, you will think about the people, places, and things in your community that can help you reach your goals. Each action team should create their own Action Road Map.

3. Protecting Communities, Serving the Public

This five-session discussion guide is designed to help communities bring police and residents together to build trust and respect, develop better policies, and make changes for safer communities.

4. Guide to Training Public Dialogue Facilitators

A Guide for Training Public Dialogue Facilitators is a comprehensive training curriculum. This guide includes advice for creating a training program for both youth and adults, with expanded facilitator training, plus suggestions for ongoing support and evaluation of dialogue facilitators.

5. Organizing Community-Wide Dialogue for Action and Change

This comprehensive guide will help you develop a community-wide dialogue to change program from start to finish.

6. Personal Cultural Timeline Exercise

This activity will help the group get to know each other better and understand our histories. The facilitator should post large sheets of paper with the timeline written on it for participants to add their events. Follow the instructions in the handout below to facilitate the discussion.

7. Building Prosperity for All

Building Prosperity for All is for people in rural communities and small towns who are working to move from poverty to prosperity. This resource was designed to benefit communities that participated in dialogue-to-change programs using the guide, Thriving Communities: Working Together to Move From Poverty to Prosperity for All. However, no prior experience with Thriving Communities is necessary to get involved.

8. Strong Starts for Children

This five-session discussion guide helps people get involved in an important issue facing all of us: the well-being of our youngest children. The guide looks at how we are connected to the lives of children in our community and the “invisible” effects of racism and poverty. It also guides people in developing plans for action.

9Focusing on Racial Equity as We Work

Organizing groups should review this list of questions, occasionally, to make sure they are working well together.

10. Facilitators’ Racial Equity Checklist

Following each dialogue session, facilitators should take some time to debrief and make sure they are working well together.

Please let us know what tools and supports you are using in your community, and what you are learning as you apply democratic principles and practices. We look forward to working and learning with you, and to sharing your practical insights with others.

The original version of this post can be found at http://everyday-democracy.org/news/top-10-resources-creating-change#.U37rSPldUlr.

Der ASUW Studentensenat

Die studentische Leitung der Universität Washington, ‘Associated Students of the University of Washington’ (ASUW), rief den Studentensenat 1994 ins Leben. Ziel war es, ein vielfältiges Gesetzgebungsorgan zu erschaffen, um der Exekutive, dem ‚Board of Control‘ (Kontrollbehörde), Ratschläge zu wichtigen Themen zu geben, Anliegen zu priorisieren und Lösungen anzubieten.