Team building before facilitating

Group working rThis weekend I’m facilitating my 80th Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) workshop (or Help Increase the Peace workshop which is the youth version of AVP), but my first on in over 14 years. One of the things I learnt through AVP is the importance of team building for the facilitation team. AVP workshop are run by a team of volunteer facilitators which means that I’ve worked with many different people of varying ability, styles and personalities. As would be expected, there have been some great facilitators and some quite poor facilitators; there have been people I’ve find it easy to work with and others I’ve really struggled with; there have been facilitators with a similar style to my own and others with a very different style.

One of the things I learnt over the years was to value different styles of facilitating. Some facilitators, whose style I found very difficult, were loved by some of the participants and their style worked much better with some people than mine. I learnt the value of different facilitation styles and personalities within a team and that sometimes a style I found difficult highlighted an area of my facilitation that could be improved. Continue reading

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Transition Newcastle Convenor report (May 2016)

Transition Newcastle bannerLast night I gave a de facto convenor report at Transition Newcastle’s annual general meeting (AGM). Even though I had stood down as convenor at the 2015 AGM, the position had remained vacant and I’ve been doing quite a few of the roles anyway. As nobody else has been able to take on the role, I have been reappointed as the convenor. The following post is based on the report I gave last night.

If we had held our AGM at the end of2015, I think I would have been reporting on a group that was in a decline. Continue reading

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Dave Meslin: The antidote to apathy

An interesting short (7:05 mins) TEDx talk about barriers to community engagement. Dave Meslin suggests apathy isn’t the reason people aren’t involved in community engagement initiatives; it is because they are actively discouraged from becoming involved. He gives a number of examples of the way in which barriers are put in the way of community engagement: Continue reading

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Program fidelity and baking a cake

Program fidelity is an important concept in evidence-based programs. It is the “extent to which an enacted program is consistent with the intended program model” [1, p. 202]. In other words, it’s about ensuring we stay true to the original design of an evidence-based program when we implement it [2]. In the above short video about program fidelity, I like the analogy of fidelity being similar to ensuring you follow a recipe when baking a cake.

When we bake a cake, if we want to get the cake in the recipe, we need to essentially follow the recipe. But at times we need to adapt the recipe. For example if we don’t have self-raising flour we can use plain flour and baking powder or we might need to change how long we cook it because our oven is hotter or cooler than the one used in developing the recipe.

There are somethings you can change without changing the end result, but if you change the recipe too much, or change key components, you end up making something completely different. It won’t necessarily be worse, but it won’t be the cake in the recipe. Continue reading

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A reading list on ABCD (over 100 resources)

ABCD (asset-based community-driven development)The following are readings I have collected about asset-based community-driven development (ABCD) and other asset-based approaches to working with communities. (If you want you can read my brief introduction to asset-based community-driven development and at the bottom of this post are other posts I’ve written relevant to ABCD.)

While many of them are available online, some of them are chapters from a book or journal articles that are only available online if you (or a library you belong to) has a subscription.

Because it is quite a long list I have grouped them under the following headings:

  1. Some places to start
  2. General ABCD resources freely available on the internet
  3. General ABCD resources not freely available on the internet
  4. Asset-based approaches to health
  5. Other strengths-based approaches to working with communities

They are listed alphabetically under each heading (except for the ones in Some places to start) Continue reading

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Questions for an Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) workshop

AVP workshop March 2016 5Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) workshops are experiential in nature which means that an important part of the process is assisting participants to reflect on their experience. Rather than telling them what their experience means, the aim is to ask questions that encourage them to come to their own conclusions.

Because AVP relies on volunteer facilitators (and interested participants are encouraged to become facilitators) not everyone is experienced in asking questions that promote reflection. The Sydney AVP group has adopted a set of three questions that form the basis of discussion following workshop activities.

The questions (and some potential alternatives) are: Continue reading

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The Parent Empowerment and Efficacy Measure (PEEM)

The Parent Empowerment and Efficacy Measure (PEEM)

The Parent Empowerment and Efficacy Measure (PEEM)
(Kate Freiberg, Ross Homel & Sara Branch, 2014)

I recently met with Kathryn Di Nicola (a Collective Impact Facilitator from Griffith Criminology Institute, Griffith University) and a team of family and community workers to discuss the Parent Empowerment and Efficacy Measure (PEEM). PEEM is a freely available, brief, strengths-based measurement tool in which parents are invited to rate themselves in relation to 20 statements using a 10 point scale from “this sounds nothing like me” to “this sounds exactly like me”: Continue reading

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A welcome slide for Collaborate Ultra

Collaborate UltraThe University of Newcastle uses Blackboard Learn as a learning management system. One of the features I rely on is Collaborate Ultra which provides a chat room (including video, audio and sharing screens).

I thought I’d provide a slide I use when students enter the room. Below is an image of the slide and if you click here you can download it as a PowerPoint slide. Continue reading

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Research evidence for family (and community) workers

(Created with Wordle)

(Created with Wordle)

There are a range of reasons we might want to use research evidence as family workers or community workers. A quite inadequate reason, but potentially a motivating one, is that funding bodies are increasingly expecting the organisations they fund to provide evidence-based programs and practice, and more and more community based organisations are wanting to incorporate evidence-based practice into their day-to-day work.

But really the main reason evidence is important for practitioners is that it can help us achieve the best possible outcome for the individuals, families and communities we work with, and it can help us critically reflect on our practice. Research evidence can also help us ensure that when we design a new program or project, that we have a solid foundation for our planning.

In this post I will be discussing research evidence in the context of evidence-based programs and practice when working with families. While the focus is on families, it also applies to work with communities. Continue reading

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Finding literature on working with families

online literatureThe following are some websites which have research publications and other literature about working with families. The list is associated with the post on research evidence for family (and community) workers.

Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) including:

Continue reading

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