Facilitation Suggestions for Capital Reading Group

Facilitation Suggestions for Capital Reading Group

This document is intended for people facilitating the next session of the “Capital in the Capitol” Reading Group. It is intended to be a reference on your screen as you facilitate the meeting, as a checklist and preparation as you prepare for the meeting, and a reminder before you adjourn. These are just suggestions — you may ignore or adjust them based on your preferences and the group’s needs — and are intended to help you as you prepare and facilitate.

Suggestions Before the Meeting

  • Thorough preparation for your section — read and re-read Marx, and this is the time to read supplementary materials if you’re ever going to do so.
    • One reading group we corresponded with recommended facilitators read the relevant chapter(s) of How to Read Marx’s Capital.
    • Others recommended facilitators consult the appropriate section(s) in the shorter reader from Simon Clarke.
  • Come ready with multiple passages, concepts, and questions to discuss if the group does not volunteer any at a point during the discussion.
  • Truly optional: Script what you’re going to say when you kick off the meeting — could help you focus the entry into the chapter(s).

Suggestions Early in the Meeting

  • Allow time for group bonding — let people linger in the amount you think they need.
  • Ask the group’s overall impression of the chapter(s).
  • Ask the group if they would like to volunteer a passage to read.
  • Ask if anyone is struggling with certain concepts they came across — and to share.

Suggestions During the Meeting

  • Rephrase peoples’ statements or questions to clarify them.
  • Summarize the group’s understanding of an issue.
  • Keep track of who speaks (optional) — could help in building a more equitable
    discussion culture by creating a record of who is dominating.
  • Take notes on any follow-up needed on a concept or reference.
  • Intervene with your understanding if others are confused — or wrong.
  • Intervene to keep the group from a ‘rabbit hole’ on any specific issue that isn’t
    foundational, especially those outside the text.
  • Notice if some people are not talking and actively ask those people, individually, to share.

Suggestions for the End of the Meeting

  • Ask if there is a subject people wanted to discuss that the group has not gotten to.
  • Summarize the discussion and the need for any tasks or need to continue speaking on a certain subject matter.
  • Ask whether the discussion culture was healthy and how to improve it.
  • Ask whether the group should be speeding up or slowing down in Capital.
  • Ask if anyone knows what to look forward to in the next section.
  • Ask if the person slated to facilitate or do other roles at the next meeting can still do it.
  • Reach out to the administrator if you felt someone was dominating the discussion to the extent that someone was inhibiting it — the administrator can reach out 1 on 1 or initiate a group discussion about norms at the next meeting.