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How to Become a SENG Model Parent Group Facilitator
Help parents understand and develop skills for nurturing the development of their gifted children
SENG Model Parent Groups (SMPGs) are structured to bring together 10 to 20 interested parents of gifted and talented children to discuss such topics as motivation, discipline, stress management, and peer relationships. The co-facilitators of this group are knowledgeable about parenting and educating gifted children; however they do not attempt to give expert advice. Instead, their facilitation provides a non‐judgmental and nurturing atmosphere. Additionally, the other participating parents are themselves a rich resource of information.
These workshops meet weekly for 8-10 weeks and are structured around the book A Paren’ts Guide to Gifted Children.
Facilitator training includes:
Certified SENG Facilitators are expected to be competent in the following areas:
Subject matter expertise: The SENG Model Parent Group (SMPG) Facilitator possesses deep knowledge of the weekly key topics. Facilitators must have solid background knowledge of each of the weekly topics and be able to share their experiences. Anecdotes and other examples to illustrate how the training content relates to parent participants’ circumstances; this enhances the learning experience for all parents involved.
Emotional intelligence: SMPG facilitators are sensitive to others’ emotions and respectful of parent participants’ viewpoints, knowledge, and experience. Additionally, SMPG facilitators recognize and respond appropriately to parents’ feelings, attitudes, and concerns. Because there may be many different backgrounds, experience levels, and opinions in the same group, facilitators must be able to handle a variety of opinions and conversations. They must pay close attention to the dynamics in the room, be flexible to meet the emotional needs of parent participants, and create an open and trusting environment. Monitoring parent participant emotions during a group session helps the facilitator gauge when it may be time to change direction if conflict arises, if discussion needs to be refocused, or if there is a need to delve deeper into a topic.
Communication skills: Beyond presenting information and facilitating discussions, it is vital for a SMPG facilitator to be highly skilled in all aspects of communication. SMPG facilitators use both verbal and nonverbal skills well, and listen effectively. Verbal skills include reflecting direct questions back to the group, Socratic Questions, reframing statements, and summarizing statements. SMPG facilitators avoid lecturing, criticizing, or arguing. The verbal and non-verbal behaviors are essential components of the facilitator’s repertoire: they encourage parents to participate, and they complement the content that is discussed within the sessions.
Facilitation techniques: The SMPG facilitator varies facilitation techniques to hold parents’ interest and address different participant styles. These techniques may include praising small successes that parents have made; recognizing the feeling behind the words; using humor, metaphors, stories, and folk sayings; and modeling appropriate behaviors.
Motivation: The SMPG facilitator generates enthusiasm from parent participants to try new strategies, and encourages parents to participate and commit to small goals for desired results.
Organizational skills: SMPG facilitators have arranged a consistent place and time to meet for each session. SMPG facilitators express the objectives of SENG Model Parent Groups clearl to participantsy. SMPG facilitators make supplemental reading materials available for topic areas each session. SMPG facilitators have a homework assignment and session evaluation ready for each session.
Time management: The SMPG Facilitator plans and uses time effectively. The SMPG facilitator controls the pace of the group, ensures that all parents have a chance to participate, provides closure, and ends the group on time.