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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services


Effective TB Interviewing for Contact Investigation: Facilitator Led Training Guide


8. Group Facilitation and Training Delivery

The Purpose of a Facilitator

In the section Facilitator Qualities, we briefly discussed some basic characteristics of an appropriate facilitator. During a course, the facilitator should

  • Encourage participants to share ideas and concerns;

  • Model effective communication by listening, repeating, and asking questions; and

  • Provide information to supplement what the participants bring with them to the course.

Providing Effective Facilitation

There are several concepts to keep in mind to provide effective facilitation.

  • Set ground rules for the course. While adult learners should be treated as adults, there should be some basic rules of respect during the course that will make all participants feel comfortable. These will be covered in the Course Activities section (page 29). These rules emphasize confidentiality, respect for others’ opinions, and nonjudgmental behavior. Both the facilitator and participants can formulate these rules together, as persons are more apt to adhere to rules that they have created.

  • Create a safe learning environment. Demonstrations and practice sessions (role-plays) can be intimidating for some participants. Facilitators will want to lead these activities in ways that build confidence and strength in the areas that the participants themselves have expressed as concerns. Facilitators can minimize the stress of performance and maximize the value of practicing and learning together.

  • Encourage participants to become acquainted during breaks. During the breaks, at lunch, and at other appropriate times, encourage participants to talk with each other and compare job responsibilities, policies, procedures, and “tricks of the trade.” This interaction will help the participants and may well benefit later discussions in the group.

  • Help participants review the content of each activity. An important aspect of training is providing participants with opportunities to focus on the “big picture” of what they are learning. This evaluation will allow participants a chance to review the material that they have covered during the course and to raise questions or concerns they have about the content. Hints for the types of questions to ask are included with each activity description.

  • Accommodate local laws, policies, and practices. Any effective job-training course accommodates the circumstances in which the participant works. You will want to pay attention to any relevant local laws and practices impact how one initiates or conducts an interview.

  • Facilitate question-asking by repeating questions. Questions may not be heard or understood by all of the participants. Therefore, when a question is asked, you should either repeat or paraphrase it to help others understand it clearly. Since this is a skill-building course, it is acceptable to ask other participants to try to answer the question, especially if it revolves around communication and interviewing techniques.

  • Do not let a factual error in a participant’s statement go uncorrected. Even if only a small point in an otherwise correct answer is wrong, that point should be quickly and tactfully clarified so that others are not left with an incorrect impression.

  • Be aware of the level of participation of each person in the course. It is natural for some members to talk more than others. You should encourage those who seem to talk less than others to answer questions and share experiences, even if they are new to TB interviewing.

  • Involve active listening in all aspects of training. You should be aware of what each person is saying and be able to paraphrase it if the point someone has made is relevant later in the course. This gives the participants a sense of importance, and it is helpful for them to hear important concepts reiterated in various contexts.

  • Take responsibility for keeping participants on track. Discussions may stray from the main point or lead into negative discussions and complaints about work. It is your job to move the discussion ahead even if this means interrupting after someone has finished a sentence or merely acknowledging that others may have contributions to make, but that you simply have to move on to adhere to time constraints. Also, during all practice sessions and small group activities, it is important to circulate throughout the room to catch problems and assist or encourage people as needed. Several minutes before the small group activity is to end, facilitators should alert participants to the amount of time remaining in each activity.

  • Allow groups to work independently. Within the course, there are activities that involve group work. The purpose of this is to promote incorporation of varying ideas and to enhance the flow of many ideas at once. As the facilitator, you should walk around the room to observe how groups’ processes are progressing. However, try not to intervene unless a group is missing the purpose of the activity or is very far behind the time allotted for completion of the activity. By observing the group processes, you can assess how well the group was prepared for this activity and whether your instructions were clear. This is important for future training programs.

  • Realize that there are different successful approaches. While you may teach a particular approach, the course participants may have other ways in which they accomplish certain tasks. These may also be acceptable approaches. If, however, participants suggest methods which are unethical or illegal, but “get the job done,” it is your responsibility to explain that the ends do not always justify the means. That is, when dealing with patients and public health issues, all parties must be treated with respect and honesty.

Providing Feedback

Feedback is critical to skills building. Feedback is the process through which facilitators and participants provide each other with comments and observations. Providing positive feedback is very important in building trainee confidence. Negative feedback is also important, but should be constructive.

If someone performs a task that requires improvement, mention positive aspects first and then gently ease into the negative aspects. However, you should always have solutions for a better way to do things. You can preface negative feedback with an acknowledgement of how difficult the situation can be, especially if someone is new or is dealing with a challenging patient or population. Examples of his or her positive and negative skills and techniques give better insight to the person who is being assessed. During the course, there will be opportunities for both you and the participants to provide feedback to one another.


Released October 2008
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention
Division of Tuberculosis Elimination -

Please send comments/suggestions/requests to:, or to
CDC/Division of Tuberculosis Elimination
Communications, Education, and Behavioral Studies Branch
1600 Clifton Rd., NE - Mailstop E-10, Atlanta, GA 30333