UNDERSTANDING YOUR SOCIAL LOCATION AS A FACILITATOR:
Understanding Your Social Location as a Facilitator:
When a facilitator understands their social location, it can model awareness and anti-oppression values for the group. As a role model, it is important that you are doing the personal work required to come to terms with your unique social location. This means grappling with the oppressions you face, as well as the power and privilege you experience relative to others.
To do this, facilitators should understand their own social location, question what this means, and challenge pre-conceived assumptions on an on-going basis. Understanding other people’s social location relative to your own is another good way of understanding your social location.
There is no short cut for doing the deep and ongoing work that it takes to understand how oppressions and privileges affect you and how you are uniquely situated in relation to others.
If you have not already read the section on anti-oppression in this manual, this would be a good place to start thinking about social locations and experiences of power, privilege and oppression. For more information on anti-oppression, see Adding (New) Information: Knowledge Building – Anti-Oppression.
It is important to try to understand your social location in order to facilitate across differences.
Here are some questions to help with that process:
• What is your social location relative to that of the girls in the group (this includes aspects of identity such as socio-economic status, race, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, ability, and so on)?
• Based on your social location, in what ways are you able, and unable, to relate to the experience of the girls in your group?
• In what ways, or through what aspects of your social location, do you experience privilege? In what ways could this impact your role as a facilitator?
• In what ways, or through what aspects of your social location, do you experience oppression? In what ways could this impact your role as a facilitator?
The following are just a few questions to consider for program planning that take into account the social locations of the girls participating in your group:
• If you are sharing food, are there any particular dietary needs, such as kosher food? Or are there specific times that eating is restricted, such as during Ramadan?
• Is your program accessible for participants who are differently abled?
• Can participants afford to travel to your program? Can they afford to take part in any special programs or trips?
• Does your programming assume that everyone is heterosexual?
• Are time and space for prayer made available?
• What religious or cultural holidays and events do you need to take into account when scheduling activities with the girls?
• Is it okay for the girls to be in co-ed spaces?
Things to consider for practising anti-oppressive facilitation:
• Who speaks most often and/or for the longest period of time?
• Are their certain girls whose opinions are expressed or reflected more often than others?
• As the facilitator, do you encourage some girls to express themselves more often than others?
• Are their certain girls whose interests are focused on more often than others (in terms of activities, songs that are listened to by the group or media that is watched or discussed in the group?)
• Do these interests, activities reflect the identities or lived realities of only some girls and not others?
• Whose life priorities are most often the focus of discussion?
• Do guest facilitators represent diverse experiences, backgrounds, and social locations?