What is the PYE Heart of Facilitation Training?

“Everybody who is an educator should take this course. It is fantastic.”

Every year in North America PYE runs an intensive 5 weekend training course called the Heart of Facilitation (HOF), aimed at teaching people how to deliver creative, transformative learning programs. Participants come from a mixed background and include youth workers, trainers, teaching artists and group facilitators. The group meets for one weekend each month. In 2014 we will be offering a similar program in the UK for the first time.

While a majority of the participants work with youth in schools or youth programs, about ¼ of the participants work with adult groups or don’t yet work with groups at all. Aimee Eddins, who took part in the training for 2011-2012, fell into this later category.

“At the start of my career I worked as an Aerospace engineer, but I didn’t enjoy the work culture very much. Eventually I set up a women’s group within the company, and I also offered to do some mentoring and teaching about engineering at local high schools. It occurred to me pretty quickly that this was the part of my job that I found the most enjoyable.”

“I decided to leave that field of work. I did odd jobs for a while and spent some time trying to figure out what I really wanted to do. That’s when I remembered that a few friends had told me about the Heart of Facilitation training.”

The Heart of Facilitation is based on the idea that a good facilitator is authentic, creative, responsible and passionate, so the training weaves personal growth skills with facilitation training and models for working with groups of youth and adults.

“I was interested in the fact that there was a lot of personal development to help you become a better facilitator,” says Aimee. “That was really important to me. I think it’s hard to deliver an authentic and moving experience to someone else unless you have experienced the transformation that it can ignite in yourself.”

While many participants come with an immediate and tangible need for the skills taught in HOF, Aimee was largely unsure of how she would use the training once the course had ended. “As HOF was drawing to a close I had loads of ideas for what to do next. At that point I got an email from a woman I know asking if I would consider being a facilitator for a non-violent direct action workshop. She had heard about HOF and was keen to get me involved. I knew a little about non-violent action, but I had never considered going down that route before.”

“I went along to the pre-session training and as soon as it started I was struck by how complete my understanding of facilitation practices was due to the Heart of Facilitation. I understood why we were approaching certain tasks in the ways we were, why it was important to get the stages in the right order, and why you would want to do a certain activity in the first place. I felt like I really brought valuable knowledge with me, and I was struck by how easily I was able to apply my skills to this new area of facilitation.”

“From that experience I met a group of people who were preparing to put on a more in-depth program. They asked me to facilitate with them, which I did. I am now considering setting up my own project with one of the other facilitators I met.”

“In the future I want to bring even more of my creative facilitation skills to this area of work. Non-violent workshops tend to be quite dry. They often focus on giving information rather than teaching through experience. Having completed the Heart of Facilitation training, I realize that there are different ways to tackle this. Learning makes a deeper imprint when we are encouraged to play as part of the process. I would love to run a class in which we implement more games and activities.”

“I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how easy it has been to find other people doing this kind of work and to get involved. The course has given me the confidence and guidance to seek out opportunities and to put myself forward. Everybody who is an educator should take this course. It is fantastic.”

Visit our upcoming training section to book a place on this year’s Heart of Facilitation

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