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Not your usual facilitator... (PLA 57)

Dee Jupp

Journal article

There is no single ‘model’ of immersion, and different approaches are used by different people and organisations for different purposes. Nevertheless, at the heart of each immersion is the contact that is established between a host family and their guest, which is (sometimes) supported by an interpreter and/or facilitator. The quality of the relationships between these various protagonists is critical to the success of an immersion. The articles in Section 2 (PLA 57) explore these roles and relationships as well as the roles of the facilitator and interpreter – sometimes the same person, sometimes two people – but both of them important bridges between host and guest. Sometimes the facilitator also acts as interpreter. Another approach, used by ActionAid, gives the facilitator a role that is distinct from that of the interpreters. S/he provides practical and emotional support to the visitors, working with individuals to reflect on their experiences and draw out its implications.

Here, Dee Jupp explores this particular form of facilitation. She compares participatory approaches facilitators, whose work with groups to enable intra-group engagement requires them to adopt particular attitudes and behaviours, and immersion facilitators, who work with immersion participants to help those participants adopt appropriate attitudes and behaviours for a quality immersion experience.

Participatory Learning and Action (PLA, formerly PLA Notes) is the world's leading series on participatory learning and action approaches and methods. PLA publishes articles on participation aimed at practitioners, researchers, academics and activists. All articles are peer-reviewed by an international editorial board.

Guest editors: Izzy Birch, Raffaella Catani with Robert Chambers.

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