Singapore Children's Forum
Core Group Trainings: Systems Thinking & Facilitation
Updated: Sep 20, 2021
As the saying goes “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach him how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”
As part of the core group training, we hope to impart relevant skills on “how to fish” to the recruited participants of the Singapore Children’s Forum, to help them formulate and share their thoughts on issues concerning them better.
The first two training workshops were held over two Saturdays, on 17 and 24 July 2021, on the topics of Systems Thinking and Facilitation respectively.
The workshop on Systems Thinking challenged participants to be aware of their own assumptions and reminded them not to jump to conclusions quickly. This was taught using systems thinking tools such as the ‘Ladder of Inference’ which traces our thinking processes.
How then should we think through the issues concerning us? To do this, participants undertook an exercise to apply another tool named ‘Levels of Perspective’, to the themes of digital world and mental health to understand the different layers of the observed issue.
The below table recorded some of their preliminary observations for each level of perspective:
With the core group starting their small groups projects progressively, discussions would form a big part of the process. How then should they guide their conversations forward?
Focusing on how they can support the process of conversations, the second workshop on Facilitation highlighted the unseen interactions between the sender and receiver in any communicative exchange. It also discussed the importance and use of body language to listen and to ask questions in this process.
Let’s hear from some of the core group members on what they have learnt from the workshops:
"When doing research, I can better understand the connections between different things and elements, which gives me a better understanding of the subject. I can also communicate with others when I am doing facilitation or getting a discussion going in the future. For example, I can ask open-ended questions so that the discussion does not end easily, and we can find out more about the other party."
– Ezann Yeap, 14
"Be more open minded and aware of how I think and what people think. For example, you think someone is being suspicious, in the end, the person was trying to be nice. We can't always think the negative way but must also think about the positive side. I can also apply skills learnt about facilitation on my day-to-day conversations with people."
– Daryl Lin, 15
"Using the Level of Perspectives, it helps me to better plan and execute my goals. As for the facilitation skills, I am able to analyse conversations, allowing me to ask better questions and draw out insightful and meaningful conversations"
– Zerlina Kok, 16