Facilitation Suggestions for All Reading Groups
This document is intended for people facilitating reading groups. 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 they 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.
- 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.