What is the facilitator?

What is the role of the facilitator?

From time to time, I might ask for a volunteer to facilitate discussion of one particular book in our discussion: one volunteer for a single month and single book. The role of the facilitator is to help encourage discussion by means of the facilitator posting his/her own comments or questions, and perhaps suggested discussion points.

In addition to the volunteer facilitator, of course the moderator (me) will also be helping to facilitate every month's discussion as well.

The facilitator certainly does not have to be an expert on any of the books or history. The only requirement is a willingness to commit sincerely to reading the books for that one month, and to post a few emails about his/her impressions of the books.

The facilitator is not the list moderator or list owner. The role of the facilitator is not to control discussion or moderate the discussion, only to help jump start discussion, and to help get fresh perspective on the books.

Of course, discussion is not limited to only the facilitator. On the contrary, I hope every month that everyone will contribute his/her comments or questions about every month's readings.  And anyone can comments on anything pertaining to western literature, or western history, whether related to the facilitator's comments or not. You don't have to limit yourself to what the facilitator has been writing about.

It is my hope, as moderator, that many different people will volunteer to facilitate for one month.  So don't be shy: volunteer to facilitate discussion for one month!


Q and A

Q: Can I volunteer for facilitator if I've never read the selected book before?
A: Yes, anyone can volunteer and be selected for facilitator.

Q: Can I be the moderator?
A: No, the moderator is different from the facilitator. The moderator is a semi-permanent position held by the owner of the group. That's me.

Q: If I am not the facilitator, is it okay to post to the list?
A: Yes, of course, it is okay. Anyone can post an email to the list anytime, as long as you've already subscribed to the group.

Q: If I am not the facilitator, is it okay to post questions or comments unrelated to what the facilitator is discussing?
A: Yes, of course it is okay to post any comments or questions, even if unrelated to what the facilitator is discussing.

Q: Who choses the facilitator?
A: The moderator-owner of the list asks for volunteers each month and selects volunteers on a first come first serve basis.

Q: Can I volunteer for facilitator more than once?
A: Yes, of course!

Q: Do I have to read the book if I volunteer for facilitator?
A: Yes, when you volunteer for facilitator, you are making a commitment to volunteer to read that month's books. You do *not* have to commit to read the other books scheduled for later months or earlier months.

Q: I don't know anything about history or philosophy or literature. Can I volunteer for facilitator if I don't know anything?
A: Yes, anyone can volunteer for facilitator if he/she is willing to simply read the book(s) of the month and post impressions of the book(s) to the list.

Q: If I am facilitator, do I have to be able to answer other people's questions about the book?
A: No, you don't have to be able to answer other people's questions. Anyone can try to answer anyone's questions, not just the facilitator.