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Book Review : The Facilitator Book of Questions: Tools for Looking Together at Student and Teacher Work by David Allen and Tina Blythe

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The Facilitator Book of Questions: Tools for Looking Together at Student and Teacher Work by David Allen and Tina Blythe is an excellent reference guide for teaching educators how to go about role playing as a professional facilitator.  Generally, facilitators examine student and teacher work products to glean progress and refine methods to enhance performance.

The authors explain that a protocol is a formal structure for gaining input on specific educator work products together with a structure for organizing urgent conversations aimed at seeking improvement.

Generally, small group participants are invited to critique specific work products and raise probing questions which invite reflection, clarification and strategies to move the agenda forward. Oftentimes, facilitators must develop information by structuring a conversation, listening to group members, clarifying issues, asking probing questions, and observing participants in action.  At times, a facilitator must hire or engage an expert to pinpoint where the specific expertise resides and how to exploit it fully to benefit the community of educators and students.

The authors provide strategies for facilitators to manage conflict, outright non-cooperation or simply group deadlocks. Facilitators take non-verbal clues. Sometimes,  time is taken out from the small group encounter to rank the importance of longstanding questions, refine goals, and experiment with different approaches.  Classic challenges to facilitators involve limited time to accomplish goals, the shear size of the work group and reluctance to cooperate. The authors explain how to manage these types of difficult situations in practice.

Facilitators improve through continuous observation, emulating success models, asking for feedback, reflecting on progress, and documenting results. The website www.lasw.org provides specific examples of protocols to examine
student work.

The Facilitator Book of Questions greatly simplifies the
task of a facilitator by zeroing in on the most effective methodologies and approaches to begin very difficult conversations and guide them to a successful
conclusion which comports with the existing organizational dynamics  or bureaucratic culture.

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About Dr Joseph S Maresca

I've taught approx. 34 sections of collegiate courses including computer applications, college algebra, collegiate statistics, law, accounting, finance and economics. The experience includes service as a Board Director on the CPA Journal and Editor of the CPA Candidates Inc. Newsletter. In college, I worked as a statistics lab assistant. Manhattan College awarded a BS in an allied area of operations research. The program included courses in calculus, ordinary differential equations, probability, statistical inference, linear algebra , the more advanced operations research, price analysis and econometrics. Membership in the Delta Mu Delta National Honor Society was granted together with the degree. My experience includes both private account and industry. In addition, I've worked extensively in the Examinations Division of the AICPA from time to time. Recently, I passed the Engineering in Training Exam which consisted of 9 hours of examination in chemistry, physics, calculus, differential equations, linear algebra, probability/ statistics, fluids, electronics, materials science/structure of matter, mechanics, statics, thermodynamics, computer science, dynamics and a host of minor subject areas like engineering economics. A very small percentage of engineers actually take and pass the EIT exam. The number has hovered at circa 5%. Several decades ago, I passed the CPA examination and obtained another license in Computer Information Systems Auditing. A CISA must have knowledge in the areas of data center review, systems applications, the operating system of the computer, disaster recovery, contingency planning, developmental systems, the standards which govern facility reviews and a host of other areas. An MBA in Accounting with an Advanced Professional Certificate in Computer Applications/ Information Systems , an Advanced Professional Certificate in Finance and an Advanced Professional Certificate in Organizational Design were earned at New York University-Graduate School of Business (Stern ). In December of 2005, an earned PhD in Accounting was granted by the Ross College. The program entrance requires a previous Masters Degree for admittance together with a host of other criteria. The REGISTRAR of Ross College contact is: Tel . US 202-318-4454 FAX [records for Dr. Joseph S. Maresca Box 646 Bronxville NY 10708-3602] The clinical experience included the teaching of approximately 34 sections of college accounting, economics, statistics, college algebra, law, thesis project coursework and the professional grading of approx. 50,000 CPA examination essays with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Additionally, membership is held in the Sigma Beta Delta International Honor Society chartered in 1994. Significant writings include over 10 copyrights in the name of the author (Joseph S. Maresca) and a patent in the earthquake sciences.