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Facilitator Training: Learning to Train Middle Leaders

Written by Hannah Loudoun, Primary Deputy Academic at Rainbow International School Uganda

The opportunity to attend the COBIS Middle Leaders Facilitators course has had a monumental impact not only on the Middle Leaders on the course, but also on myself as a facilitator and the staff body as a whole. It has brought clear direction, focus and alignment for Middle Leadership training but also identified areas that can be delivered to staff members to further develop their role within our school.

I attended the Facilitators course in May 2019, alongside a wonderful group of fellow leaders and embarked on an in-depth approach to obtaining the skills and knowledge to deliver the course. We were put through our paces with leading small feedback groups, having deep discussions about management and leadership, delivering presentations and exploring new ideas and concepts of engaging with and facilitating our own courses. It was a great opportunity to spend time and mix with colleagues from all corners of the world. We were able to draw on and share our own experiences as well as gain a wealth of knowledge and skill to take back to our own schools and particularly our middle leaders.

Having ownership and autonomy on the writing of the course allowed me to ensure that along with the modules stipulated by COBIS, I could also mould the course to suit the needs of the cohort of participants. I was able to ensure that I was aware of their own individual context to education as well as the collaborative context linked to the needs of the school.

As I write this, I am ready to present the last two-day face-to-face sessions with my team. I am a sole facilitator and have 9 participants on my course from both Primary and Secondary sections of the school which has allowed for a real intimate cohort to be established. I chose to host the course out of school, which has allowed everyone to have a step away from the distraction of day-to-day goings-on and a real focused time on the course. This has created an opportunity of time: time to stop and reflect, time to analyse current practice as well as time to just talk to each other and be open to new ways of thinking. All too often it is the one thing we long for in education – to have more time. The feedback I received after the initial sessions identified how beneficial it had been to have time to talk, to read and analyze, to give feedback and to reflect. It was also, however, the one thing that people wanted more of!

From attending the course to its writing and implementation, it has been a journey. A journey of Professional Development, not only as the facilitator but also as a Senior Leader. It gave me an insight and drive to develop the role of the Middle Leader, not only within the Primary section but across the whole school. It identified the need for a more collaborative approach not necessarily just on school issues but to share skills and insight into the individual and collective roles of participants in school.

The feedback has been positive, role changing and reflective. The participants feel empowered and I am honored to be the one to empower them. Clarity has been sought on their roles, responsibilities and expectations and a motivational drive has ensued to take many of them out of their comfort zone. There is, and always will be, a safety net for them but they are pushing their boundaries and reaching new heights with this opportunity.

If you are sitting reading this and contemplating whether or not you or a member of your team should go on the course – don’t give it a second thought, sign up! The impact it has on your whole team, not just those directly involved is huge. It is well worth the time and investment.

Click here for more information on the COBIS Programme for Middle Leaders and Facilitator Training