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Facilitation Theory

Facilitation theory, sometimes also called facilitative teaching, is a humanist
approach to learning, developed during 1980s by an infuential American
psychologist Carl Rogers and other contributors and is best described in his
own words
!We know that the initiation of such learning rests not upon the teaching
skills of the leader, not upon his scholarly knowledge of the feld, not upon his
curricular planning, not upon his use of audio-visual aids, not upon the
programmed learning he utilizes, not upon his lectures and presentations, not
upon an abundance of books, although each of these might at one time or
another be utilized as an important resource. No, the facilitation of signifcant
learning rests upon certain attitudinal ualities which e!ist in the personal
relationship between the facilitator and the learner."
!We cannot teach another person directly; we can only facilitate his
What is facilitation theory?
Rogers$ %rst signi%cant area o& interest was psychology and psychotherapy
where since 19'0s he started to apply a client-centered therapy which
promotes trying to help or counsel the client viewing the problem through his
eyes( )n the second hal& o& the 19*0s he started to promote a similar approach
&or learning and the educational process( +is starting belie&s were that people
are by nature good and healthy and that every living creature strives to do best
&rom his e,istence -the actualizing tendency.(
)n his wor/s, Rogers addresses two /inds o& learning
introduced by earlier

rote learning, re&erring to meaningless memori1ation o& &acts, and

experiential learning in everyday li&e, which has meaning and personal
relevance( )t is the result o& a natural curiosity, and a recogni1ed importance o&
the learned material, o&ten ac2uired through doing, or at least &acilitated by
student$s active participation in the learning process, and o&ten sel&3initiated(
4till, this /ind o& /nowledge is di5cult to communicate to another(
Rogers$ theory there&ore sees the teacher as the /ey role in the process o&
learning, but not as a wal/ing te,tboo/ transmitting its contents, but as the
facilitator of learning( 6he &acilitation here occurs through the teacher$s
attitudes in his personal relationship with the students( Rogers suggests three
attitudinal 2ualities necessary &or &acilitative practice -both in counseling and
education.( 6hese so called core conditions are

Rogers, C( Freedom to 8earn( 19*9(
Rogers, C( 9n becoming a person( :oston +oughton ;i<in( 19*1(
=atterson, C( +( Carl Rogers and +umanistic >ducation( )n Foundations &or a 6heory o&
)nstruction and >ducational =sychology, Chapter 7( +arper ? Row, 19@@(
4ee &or e,ample Ausubel$s Assimilation 6heory
Rogers, Carl R( 6he )nterpersonal Relationship in the Facilitation o& 8earning( )n +umani1ing
Realness( !"t means that he #the teacher$ is being himself, not denying
himself."7 6he teacher has to be a real person aware of his feelings and able
to communicate them appropriately, no matter how e,actly does he &eel( +e
should not be Aust a role in the play o& education, !"a faceless embodiment af a
curricular reuirement or a sterile tube through which knowledge is passed
from one generation to the ne!t.!7
Prizing acceptance tr!st( 6his re&ers to teacher$s caring abo!t the
st!dent and his acceptance o& student$s &eelings -one that support learning as
well as ones disturbing it.( )t is the trust and pri1ing o& his capacity and abilities
as a human being(
"mpathy( >mpathy means being able to walk in others shoes( 6his means that
a teacher can understand student$s perspective on the process on learning and
his reactions &rom the inside( 6he accent here is on understand, not %udge or
9ther tas/s o& teachers include establishing a pleasant atmosphere in the
classroom and thereby &acilitating learning and ac2uisition o& new ideas by
reducing possible negative eBects o& e,ternal &actors( A &acilitative teacher
should also be open to new ideas, listen to students, pay as much attention to
his relationship with the students as he does to the content he is teaching,
encouraging learners to ta/e responsibility &or their learning and actions and to
ta/e sel&3evaluation as the highest &orm o& evaluation( +e should also use class
feedbac# &or &urther improvements(
4till, not all o& the wor/ during the educational process can be done by the
teacher( )ts eBectiveness does depend on the learner as well( )n order to
contribute to their own learning, students should be
aware of the facilitati$e conditions implemented &or their bene%t,
aware that the problem to be learned is realistic, relevant and meaning&ul
moti$ated, since motivation is, according to Rogers, a tendency towards sel&3
actuali1ation present in all healthy individuals(
)& all the necessary conditions are satis%ed,
"learning becomes life, and a very vital life at that. &he student is on his way,
sometimes e!citedly, sometimes reluctantly, to becoming a learning, changing
What is the practical meaning of facilitation
Rogers$ theory, as stated, has rather clear implementation goals, yet they are
not always so easy to introduce to the classroom( >stablishing a close contact
with the students, getting to /now them and oBering them empathy and
support re2uires a great amount o& eBort &rom teachers, who mostly ignore this
side o& educational process and orientate only on /nowledge they are supposed
to pass on to the students(
4ome o& Rogers$ Advice &or implementing the the core conditions are the
>ducation 6he =erson in the =rocess( >d( 6( 8eeper( Cational >ducation Association,
Association &or 4upervision and Curriculum Development, p1318( 19*@(
Realness( :eing real does not mean to release all the &rustrations and anger on
the students( 6hat /ind o& teacher should not be in the classroom at all( !&he
attitudes being e!pressed in being real must be attitudes of respect, warmth,
caring, liking and understanding." 6he teacher must not pretend to be all3
/nowing and per&ect, since the students /now that can$t be the truth(
Acceptance( 6eachers should prize all st!dents not &or their positiveEnegative
characteristics, but because they are all valuable human beings( 6his pri1ing
can mani&est as listening to what students are saying, but not necessary as
listening to evaluate, but listening to learn his ideas, tho!ghts and feelings(
4tudents need to &eel &ree to e,plain their thoughts( =ri1ing can also mani&est
through responding to what the students say(
>mpathy( >mpathy enables teacher to understand the reasons that led the
student to certain behavior or an answer, but also to understand his emotional
situation that needs to be solved in order to enable signi%cant learning(
Reported positive results o& Rogers$ theory in practice include &ewer
disciplinary problems in the classroom, better /nowledge and )F test scores,
usage o& higher levels o& thin/ing, &ewer acts o& vandalism, positive sel&3regard,
increase in creativity and other(
Rogers$ theory is critici1ed &or similar reasons as other humanist theories
doubtable claim about the inherent human goodness, and willingness to learn(
&eywords and most important names
facilitation theory, facilitati$e teacher, realness, acceptance, empathy
Carl Rogers
Rogers, Carl R( 6he )nterpersonal Relationship in the Facilitation o& 8earning( )n
+umani1ing >ducation 6he =erson in the =rocess( >d( 6( 8eeper( Cational
>ducation Association, Association &or 4upervision and Curriculum
Development, p1318( 19*@(
=atterson, C( +( Carl Rogers and +umanistic >ducation( )n Foundations &or a
6heory o& )nstruction and >ducational =sychology, Chapter 7( +arper ? Row,
6heories o& learning +olistic learning theory( 9,&ord :roo/es Gniversity(
Retrieved ;arch ##, #011(
Read more
Rogers, Carl R( Freedom to 8earn A Hiew o& Ihat >ducation ;ight :ecome(
Columbus, 9hio Charles >( ;errill =ublishing Company, 19*9(
Aspy, D(, Roebuc/, F( 9ur research and our %ndings( )n Rogers, C( R( Freedom to learn a
view o& what education might become, p( 1993#1@( Columbus, 9+, Charles >( ;errill, 19*9(
Cited by Jimring, Fred( Carl Rogers( =rospects the 2uarterly review o& comparative
education #', no( 0E' '113'##, 199'(
4mith, ;( K( Carl Rogers and in&ormal education, the encyclopaedia o& in&ormal
education( 199@ 3 #00'(