Group Facilitation in Language Teacher Education

 "Develop effective communication and conflict resolution skills through
   groupwork activities."



Coordination: Margit Szesztay

Szesztay, Margit / Bolitho, Rod / Einhorn, Meg, Group facilitation in language teacher education, Strasbourg / Graz: Council of Europe / European Centre for Modern Languages, 2007, ISBN 978-92-871-6296-0, [CD-Rom].

Available online:



The starting point

We believe that in order to make the most of the potential of any learning group, teachers need a thorough understanding of group dynamics, familiarity with different modes of working, and a number of key qualities and skills. Above all, though, successful facilitation of learning in groups depends on deeply held attitudes and values related to the aims of education, the roles of teachers and learners, and the educational climate that a teacher helps to create in his/her classroom.

What this publication offers

The aim of this publication is to provide you with an introduction to what working with groups in a facilitative mode involves. As facilitation is closely bound up with attitudes and personal qualities, you cannot learn to become a facilitator just by going through the material provided here. What we set out to do is to give you an overview of what we see as the main issues related to facilitation, to provide you with plenty of food for thought, guidelines for observation, triggers for self-reflection, and some practical tools which you can adapt and try out in your own practice.

Who it is for

As the title suggests, this publication is intended for mentors and trainers working with groups of language teachers. In particular, as some of the materials grow out of an ECML workshop organised for teacher trainers interested in running their own courses on facilitation, you will find a number of tasks and activities which can be used on training courses focusing on group facilitation. However, as there are strong parallels between training rooms and classrooms, some of the activities and ideas can also be adapted and used by teachers for their own development in the area of group facilitation.

How the material is organised

Although the material is sequenced starting with background and principles and moving on to practical application, you can pick and choose from it based on your interests, needs, and past experiences with facilitation. It is divided into eight sections and is organised around eight thematic areas.

Sections: Thematic areas:

1 Video extracts
2 Key quotations
3 Short articles
4 Reflective diary entries
5 Stories
6 Activities
7 Checklists
8 Further reading

1 What is facilitation?
2 Facilitation: background
3 Group life
4 Facilitation: qualities and skills
5 Facilitation: toolkit
6 Questions and questioning
7 Feedback
8 Developing as a facilitator


  • Margit Szesztay,
  • Rod Bolitho and
  • Meg Einhorn

with contributions from:

  • Simon Borg,
  • Cheryl Mackay and
  • Susanna Soler Sabanés