Cover Image
close this bookNonformal Education Manual (Peace Corps, 1989)
close this folderChapter 4: Helping people identify their needs
close this folderInformal discussion and interviewing
close this folderGroup discussions
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentProblem tree
View the documentThe balloon exercise
View the documentBrainstorming/prioritizing
View the documentHints for facilitating a group discussion


Now that you have used the various techniques of observation and interviewing to learn more about the community and the people you work with, you are more prepared to lead a group discussion that will help people determine what kind of action they want to take. But in order for the group to get involved you will need to facilitate the meeting in ways that will foster discussion, creativity and meaningful action.

First you must avoid imposing your ideas on the group in either overt or unconscious ways. Needless to say, this is not easy, especially since by now you have a pretty good idea of what you think the problems are and probably have formed an opinion about what needs to be done. The following two techniques, the problem tree and the balloon exercise, will help put discussion and decision-making in the hands of the group. Use one or the other (not both) if your aim is getting people to examine the chain of cause and effect and propose innovative solutions to their perceived needs.