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Facilitating a Philosophical Discussion [Pt1]

A reflection paper on facilitating a philosophical discussion. I just want to share my experiences being a "philosopher" in our class.

Last September 21 and 23 2011, I had the chance to facilitate the entire PHILO10 WFX class together with Klarizze and Criselda. We tackled episode 15, which is about Lisa’s grandparents who separated. Different questions were raised that gave rise to a very healthy and flowing discussion.

Along the road, I and my co-facilitators encountered struggles during the discussion. One of these was coping up with our participants. It seems that everytime they answer or ask a question, we have to think fast on how to answer their question. Without doing so, we would be derailed off the discussion and recap from the start.

Another struggle we encountered is formulating some philosophical ideas in the discussion. I found it very hard because I’m doing three things at the same time: taking down notes, answering some questions, and sharing some ideas. Sometime in the discussion, I failed to give my side because I scrambled my mind and forgot what to say. What I did is manage my work during the discussion. At one point, I took down notes; facilitated on the other; and gave some ideas – one at a time. By doing it, I managed to formulate some philosophical ideas.

I really learned a lot in the discussion. Sometimes, I related myself to some of the answers given by my participants. Even if the topic was about marriage, thinking that we don’t have experience, questions and answers raised were very mature enough. We tackled the positive and negative sides of marriage; and it made me puzzled for I learned that marriage wasn’t only positive.

I also learned that there are good reasons to end a marriage. It’s either abusive relationship, gender identity or the couples are closely family-related. At first, many gave some reasons especially JP; but when we illustrated some situations, we narrowed it down to only three. It was really fun because examples given were really real; some examples were from the participant’s family, some were from others’.

Being a facilitator teached me a lot of lessons. First is being patient; we have to compose ourselves in receiving some questions because it takes a lot of time for us to think. I also have to be alert because whenever a participant gives a question or an answer, we have to quickly think and return an answer immediately. It was a very hard task to do; but still, I found it challenging because it puts my mind to work hard.

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