One principle of facilitation

Martin Gilbraith asked: Is there a single universal principle of facilitation and learning?

Hoofdstuk 4 6 wijzenYes, of course not. No and yes, Martin, more or less. It is + (cross, plus-sign) : any universe unfolds itself in a fourfold way. That’s why everything can be presented in 2 x 2 matrix (use of x intentionally).

When I was at university (MBa), I was told never to present to management something more complicated than a two by two scheme. Higher/lower and less/more. “They cannot understand more complicated things”, I was told. Later I understood, that our understanding is universally framed into fours, as this is how universe (or System) develops, evolves, unfolds and even creates itself.

The + also works as a frame, a window (you might have noticed that Windows logo consists of four coloured “windows”). This process of framing in fours is universal: four elements, four directions in the compass rose, four psychological types, four gospels, four yoga’s, four learning styles, … (Off course, this is a generic structure, giving rise to fractals, which may not look like + any more, sometimes we’ve got 5’s, 8’s some models contain 64 elements, there are over 120 elements in nature).

So is there a single principle? No, there are four principles to be singled out, one of them being “principles” (which i tend to colour “blue”). The other three being actions (red), feelings (green) and ideas (yellow). Standard facilitation usually connect feelings with ideas, creating meaning in a group, also know as community.

In my book “Faciliteren als Tweede Beroep”, which is largely based on McWhinney’s “Creating Paths of Change” (highly recommended) , I show how each an every model or theory can be mapped on a four colour map. As this map is part of the mapping, this map is inconsistent or incomplete AND we cannot prove which of the two it is. (Does this map contain itself or is the map the same scale as reality?)

This four-fold leads us to six different combination or interventions. I show that we’re stuck with two types of facilitating change: the sixth intervention: Emergent, connecting groups, feelings with ideas, dreams, and deciding which of the other five interventions to use.

Interesting: the + also represents the connection of opposites. This is the what, how, who and where of facilitating: making (“facere”) connections ( “li”, as in relationships). So, your single is more or less plural, as you contribution on the four steps of ORID shows (it also figures in my book). There are twelve (6 combinations, 2 directions) methods, ways and means.

Over Jan Lelie

Loves to facilitate groups in complex situations
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