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Actually, the moderators should slowly take a back seat once the discussion is under way. Their function within the group is, to get the discussion going. They should enhance the feeling of togetherness, prevent the oppression of individual persons and to get the conversation flow moving.


Two moderators are often necessary because they can then correct each other if need be. Disharmony between individual participants and one of the moderators can thus, also be avoided. It is particularly important, that the moderators intervene in the group-dynamics only when absolutely necessary.

To relax the atmosphere, or to increase the willingness to take part, the discussion mostly begins with the participants introducing themselves and possibly answering an additional question. If the group members already know each other, one question, which is to be answered by everybody, is brought into focus, e.g., how he/she is feeling or what expectations he/she has. This way, the introduction of the participants is taken care of, they are continuously being confronted with something. Slowly it dawns on them, that a good learning process, without them taking part, is impossible.

The next step in the group discussion leads more specifically to the actual subject. At this point moderation is required. This can be done with question cards, which ...

- oblige each participant to state a little of their opinion,
- gives the expressed opinions a certain amount of equality,
- through anonimity, protects the person being attacked instead of the subject,
- makes possible a variable using and arranging of what has been written down.

We now find ourselves in the middle of the participator-activity. They are asked to make further decisions about, e.g., the provisional placement of the cards on the board. From this phase, the momentum must be provided for the final peak of the discussion. In the most favourable case, the interest in the questions raised from the auditorium, is so big that the readiness to cooperate in finding a solution, is just as intense.

This motivation is also necessary, if it should still exist, when individuals, or part of a group, take over an assignment and he/she - at the end of the meeting - is designated an appropriate task. Particularly this final process must be initiated by the moderators. This way, conflicts concerning the allocation of duties and personal overloading through too much optimism, can be avoided. This then, paves the way for a successful follow-up meeting.

Perfect moderation cancels out aversions and intentions. Which is perhaps the reason why moderators are the first to make occasional mistakes concerning the psychology of a group-meeting. Since participants, who constantly find, at the end, that they are saddled with a task that they are not really prepared to undertake, can sometimes react quite vehemently ... 05/09               Top of page               Index
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