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Caregiver Discussion Groups. Inter Tribal Council of Arizona Fit WIC Project October 2001. What are Discussion Groups?. Groups of caregivers get together and talk about feeding their children A facilitator helps to ensure the conversation goes smoothly. Why Discussion Groups?.

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Caregiver discussion groups

Caregiver Discussion Groups

Inter Tribal Council of Arizona

Fit WIC Project

October 2001

What are discussion groups
What are Discussion Groups?

  • Groups of caregivers get together and talk about feeding their children

  • A facilitator helps to ensure the conversation goes smoothly

Why discussion groups
Why Discussion Groups?

  • Our participants loved the discussion groups we had with our focus groups and wanted more!

  • Caregivers learn better from each other than from health care providers.

  • Caregivers get a realistic look at how to feed their children.

  • Groups can save your clinic time by processing several people at the same time.

  • They are a new and different way of providing education.

Why facilitated discussion groups
Why Facilitated Discussion Groups?

  • Facilitating the groups can add to your other valuable skills.

  • They will break up the monotony of providing education in the same way all the time (for staff and participants).

  • They add diversity to the education being provided so different learning styles are accommodated.

  • They can help establish support systems for WIC participants.

  • They will help you learn more about the people you serve.

Some concerns you may have
Some concerns you may have

  • No space

  • Not enough time to do them

  • Afraid, embarrassed, uncomfortable doing them

  • Caregivers won’t like them

  • Too hard to do them

Getting started
Getting Started

  • What do you need to do to start group discussions?

    • Find meeting room

    • Set dates and times

    • Recruit participants

    • Learn how to facilitate

      • Training and Practice, Practice, Practice

Facilitating a group
Facilitating a Group

  • Greet the participants

  • Be enthusiastic and positive

  • Establish ground rules

  • Begin with an icebreaker

The opening question
The Opening Question

  • The opening question should be easy for the group to answer.

  • Sometimes it may take a little time for someone to answer.

  • Tell them beforehand that they may need time to think about it.

  • If no one answers for a long time:

    • Guess at an answer

    • Pick someone that you think will be comfortable answering the question.

Open ended questions
Open-ended questions

  • What is an open-ended question?

  • Can’t be answered with a yes or no.

  • There are no right or wrong answers.

  • Answer the questions who, what, when, where, why, how, how much, how often.

Too many open ended questions
Too many open-ended questions

  • May feel like interrogation

  • Want the atmosphere to be conversational

  • Balance with clarifying statements or focusing.

Guiding the discussion your job
Guiding the Discussion-Your Job

  • Make the process go smoothly and easily.

  • But stay in control of the discussion.

  • Keep the group on the topic.

  • Encourage speakers to give more information.

  • Look for feedback.

  • Allow and encourage everyone to speak.

How to encourage participation
How to Encourage Participation

  • Pay attention to the person who is speaking.

  • Give positive reinforcement to the person who is speaking.

  • Watch for signs that someone else may want to respond.

  • Make sure seating arrangements include everyone.

How to focus on topic
How to Focus on Topic

  • Guide the conversation by picking up on points that are related to the topic.

  • Ask more questions in those areas. Ask others how they feel about what someone said.

  • If an issue comes up several times, it is probably one that needs to be addressed.

  • Focus esp. if conversation has rambled or jumped from topic to topic

Focus on feelings
Focus on Feelings

  • Find out how the participants feel about something or what their experiences are.

  • There are no right or wrong answers here.

  • This helps to avoid debates or disagreements.

  • Examples?

Practice active listening
Practice Active Listening

  • Listen carefully.

  • Pay attention to what the person is saying

  • Don’t interrupt their statement.

  • Don’t be thinking about what you are going to say next while they are speaking.


  • Comes after active listening.

  • Repeat what you understood the participant to say.

  • Give opportunity to disagree with your interpretation.

Dealing with wrong information
Dealing with Wrong Information

  • Goal is to introduce correct information, avoid embarrassing person and acknowledge their experiences.

  • Example statements.

Summarize the discussion
Summarize the Discussion

  • Bring ideas together.

  • Repeat relevant points.

  • Highlight certain conversations.

  • Ask each participant to share what they learned or discovered during the session.

  • Even the facilitator can learn something new!

Have fun
Have Fun!!!

  • Remember it takes practice to become skilled at this.

  • Don’t define success by the number of people at the session.

  • Enjoy yourself and encourage participants to have fun too!