Workshops can sometimes be peculiar encounters, a bunch of people who may or may not know each other bundled into a room and force fed team building activities and exercises.
In the slightly less bleak/ pretty darn amazing workshops I have had the honour to shadow and facilitate I have taken in bits and bobs that I thought I’d share with you lovelies, because shadowing is a key aspect in artistic development in order to help you constantly evolve and learn as a facilitator or trainee facilitator. So here are my tips!
(p.s. 4.5 is basically a 5 but who likes odd numbers.. any who here goes.)
Step 1) Be prepared:
Speak to the facilitator you are shadowing in advance and find out as much as you can about the workshop. What age are you working with? Is it part of a longer programme? Do they have additional needs? What role would the facilitator like you to take during the session? and any other queries you may have. Don’t be worried or scared at this moment, it can be daunting but it’s all part of a learning process.. and you’ll probably kick butt anyway!
Step 2) Be Willing:
Get involved! Standing around in the background and taking notes is not what you are there to do. You’re there to learn and start testing out your ability in facilitating. For your first shadowing experience you might want to just sit and observe but know that that isn’t your only role. If you want to be pushed drive straight in, it’s definitely something to discuss with whoever you’re shadowing before the session.
Step 3) Share Ideas:
If you've got something to share.. Share it, facilitators learn just as much from a shadower as a shadower will do from a facilitator. Seeing through new eyes or a fresh perspective is always helpful and useful.
Step 4) Note:
If you really like something or an exercise that has been used in the session, jot it down and always keep a few notes of how situations have been handled or how to
Step 4.5) Don’t be afraid:
Workshops are hella nerve-racking sometimes and having a domineering facilitator lead can make it worse. If you don’t feel like you are being pushed ask to facilitator if there is more you can do, you’re there to shadow at the end of the day not act like a spare part. Get involved and have fun, it may be uncomfortable at first but some cool dude called Peter McWilliams once uttered...
"Be willing to be uncomfortable. Be comfortable being uncomfortable. It may get tough, but it's a small price to pay for living a dream."
… Then again you could be totally fine and I’m just an awkwardian.