Learning to be a Good Facilitator
On Monday, April 12, when we first started to prepare for the ASD Sustainability Summit, we had very limited knowledge about it. At first, we were nervous because the Summit was set for May 5th and 6th which wouldn’t give us a lot of time to prepare. This is the first time ASD has established a program like this and it was new for all of us. We wanted to volunteer as we found it really intriguing, and we were also interested in the elements and protocols of this program. As we became more familiar with the details of the event, we were more at ease and prepared; after every meeting we attended, our fear slowly started to fade away. We learned what it meant to be a student facilitator, and practiced each activity thoroughly. Even though we didn't have a lot of time to prepare, due to the time constraints, we still gained a lot of knowledge about how to deal with each issue. We were also given a step-by-step guide that gave a detailed description of each activity. After we studied each activity, we started to meet with our teachers who would guide us on how better to engage the students in our groups. We continued to practice and learn different ways we could teach our students until finally, it was time.
As we became more familiar with the details of the event, we were more at ease and prepared; after every meeting we attended, our fear slowly started to fade away.
Facilitating the Summit
To be honest, we were all very nervous before going into the classrooms. On the morning of Wednesday, the 5th of May, our emotions were heightened as we entered our rooms and saw our group ready to begin. We had been introduced to our 6th and 7th graders the day before, on Tuesday, the 4th of May, so we felt a bit more relaxed. On the day of the event, we saw everyone's excitement and determination but also a tad of stress in their eyes because they were new to the entire experience, and didn’t fully know what to expect.
All of the groups were united by a shared interest in achieving the goals. We all had a lot of knowledge about the aim, so we were very excited and glad for the opportunity to share it with others, as well as come up with potential solutions. We were introduced to one another and played a few fun icebreakers to learn about each other's hobbies and similar interests, which was a lot of fun and boosted the students' confidence. We then began the compass activity which seemed to be the most beneficial, as the outcomes and purposes, as well as the teaching points, were crucial for the understanding of the topic. We think they really benefited from this activity and it should definitely be continued in the next few years. We then proceeded with a fun brain break followed by our expert connections. The Expert Connection was very significant and inspiring; we got to listen to their experiences and their approaches to the problem as well as their contributions to the goals in general.
We think they really benefited from this activity and it should definitely be continued in the next few years.
Recommendations for The Future
One thing we would advise for the next few years is, if possible, a face-to-face meeting with the expert, as it would be a bit more engaging and more beneficial in terms of student learning. We would also like to mention that the coordination of all the activities and the passion of the students was great. We were all very grateful for all the prepared slideshows and the activities that were organized in advance of the summit. We would like to thank Ms. Scavotto and Mr. Myers for organizing this event; and the student facilitators and teachers for helping run the events smoothly. Finally, we would like to thank the student participants for all their hard work, collaboration, and contribution.
The idea behind the MS Sustainability Summit is to ‘shift’ the model of education ever so slightly. By engaging in the Summit students are able to support a process without pre-existing content. As such, the Summit is a first step to supporting student-initiated, authentic learning experiences while engaging in relevant issues of global concern. It’s “ASD meets the real world'' while enabling both facilitators and participants to develop their student profile attributes—a great first step in shifting the “how” of learning at ASD.