Once trained, even seasoned practitioners will benefit from continuing education. There are many options for achieving this objective. While some states offer annual training, others offer a variety of training opportunities throughout the year. Examples may include providing opportunities for facilitators to meet, perhaps regionally, to discuss best practices. Some states provide practitioners the opportunity to attend a nearby conference, or hold a formal facilitation training of practitioners once or twice a year. Others may encourage practitioners to “buddy up” and join each other as co-facilitators on one or two cases per year. Still others advertise free training opportunities (such as CADRE’s many webinars) and occasionally provide books and materials to their facilitators.
- What are the expectations for facilitators to engage in ongoing training opportunities?
- Must a facilitator attend a specific training/conference/activity to remain on the roster?
- Will an expectation that the SEA/agency pay for training be sustainable?
- Expecting everyone to be able to attend a one-shot meeting/training each year or be kicked off the list is untenable.
- Consider an expectation of “x” number of hours of training per year to remain active. Those hours could be earned by attending conferences, independent reading and reporting key lessons, signing up for a webinar, or shadowing/co-facilitating.
- Professional development does not have to be expensive. One option would be providing each facilitator with a book and have an online discussion board about how it is applicable to practice. Another could be “brown bag” lunches where facilitators in a close geographical area meet to discuss pre-determined topics of practice, or share information.
As summarized in the presenter’s book, Supporting the IEP Process – A Facilitator’s Guide (Brookes Publishing, 2010), participants will learn 19 specific options for assisting others to work through their difficulties on the road to both consensus and conflict prevention/resolution. Segments from a video of a facilitated IEP meeting will be shown as a springboard for discussion. Practical skill development through audience participation will be a major component.