Becoming a Reflexive Facilitator

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The ACTon topic, the stories in the videos, and the resulting reflections and discussions that come from engaging with this resource may be difficult for some. Disability is highly stigmatized in most communities and cultures. The ACTon team did not want to shy away from this reality. Indeed, it drove the ACTon resource creation. The team believes that the only way to transform things is to create spaces for people to reflect, dialogue about this reality, and explore possibilities to spark change.

Prior to acting as a facilitator of the Student PowerHour it will be helpful to reflect on how your own positionality,  assumptions, and lived experiences may shape your expectations of a group’s engagement with the resource. Facilitators have a lot of power in a workshop context to shape, include, marginalize, and silence different viewpoints and ideas. Think carefully about how you can create brave spaces that support workshop participants to share their ideas in a productive fashion. Consider setting up a workshop code of conduct that clearly outlines the expected behaviour and language to be used while working together. Do not force or put people in situations where they feel they are required to share confidential or personal information. If participants choose to share sensitive information, consider following up with them after the session to discuss their feelings about the experience. Offer appropriate support when needed. The practice of becoming a reflexive facilitator is ongoing.

The ACTon interactive videos were created in consultation with educators and disabled students to promote individual reflection and group discussion about the challenges and facilitators to disability accommodations in placement. Every time we screened the videos people responded to the stories. Sometimes they reflected on the veracity of the experiences and empathized with the characters. Sometimes people noted aspects of the issues that were missing or left unaddressed in the stories. Other people had strong opinions about the characters’ identities. Be prepared for different and possibly contradictory responses to the video content. We encourage you to engage with these responses in a productive manner. Ask: Where does this reaction come from? What would you do differently? How might a similar instance be avoided or resolved in your program? What type of action might come of these reflections? The multiple interpretations of the video content are considered a central strength of these learning resources. Listen to all the different reflections and think about what they mean in light of your placement program.

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