Facilitating Group Learning
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Praise for Facilitating Group Learning

"In this engaging and accessible book, George Lakey draws on a lifetime's experience to provide a highly practical resource to anyone seeking to understand and respond to the complexities of group work. The book will be invaluable to anyone trying to effect social change through groups while striving to stay simultaneously sane and employed."—Stephen D. Brookfield, Distinguished University Professor, University of St. Thomas

"I've been working with forms of direct education for many decades, and I found new ideas and inspirations in every chapter. For anyone involved in teaching, training, sharing skills, or leading groups, this book is an invaluable resource!"—Starhawk, author, The Earth Path, Dreaming the Dark, and Webs of Power

"George Lakey has inspired our union to engage in education in a way that challenges us to redefine social justice and equality in new and exciting ways. This book helps us to continue our journey to touch the souls of union members."—Denis Lemelin, national president, Canadian Union of Postal Workers

"Facilitating Group Learning will ease the way of all who venture into the white waters of facilitation. George clarifies the most basic, complex, and nagging challenges of facilitation, while honoring the realities of individual and social power dynamics and providing real-life examples from the path of continued growth and mastery. A rare gift!"—Niyonu D. Spann, founding president, TRV Consulting and Beyond Diversity 101

"This book is a must-read for people who teach adults of any age, no matter what the subject, and care about doing it in ways that yield deep and abiding learning. Wonderfully well-written and rich with psychological and spiritual insights as well as practical strategies, it represents the fruits of a lifetime of transformational teaching and learning by one of the foremost adult educators of our time."—Parker J. Palmer, author, The Courage to Teach, Let Your Life Speak, and The Heart of Higher Education


George Lakey is visiting professor and research fellow for the Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility at Swarthmore College and cofounder of the nonprofit Training for Change. He is the author or coauthor of eight books including Grassroots and Nonprofit Leadership and A Manual for Direct Action.


About the Author.


1. Introduction: Direct Education for Adult Learning Groups.

Part I: The Learning Group and the Individual.

2. The Role of the Individual and the Group in Direct Education.

3. Harnessing the Power of Intention.

4. Strengthening the Container: Subgroups Join the Mix.

5. The Secret Life of Groups.

Part II: Diversity, Difference, and Emotions in Group Learning.

6. Acknowledging Difference to Accelerate Learning.

7. Diversity and Conflict Styles.

8. Social Class and Diversity.

9. Authenticity, Emotion, and Learning.

Part III: Designing Learning Experiences.

10. Structures for Organizing the Content.

11. Building on What the Learners Know.

12. The Art of Timing in Adding New Knowledge.

13. Sequencing for Maximum Impact.

14. Accountability in Direct Education.

15. Emergent Design: Facilitating the Here and Now.

Part IV: Facilitation.

16. Setting the Tone and Building Safety.

17. Edgy Interventions to Accelerate Learning.

18. The Power of Framing.

19. Sensitivity in Cross-Cultural Issues.

20. The Drama of Transformational Work.

21. Conclusion: Bringing It All Together.


Appendix A: The Sustainable Educator: Advocacy, Modesty, and Diversity of Gifts.

Appendix B: The Sustainable Educator: Resilience and Revolution.

Appendix C: For Further Reading.

Appendix D: Tools and Resources for Direct Education.