Questions for Power-Critical Self-Reflection

Own social situation:

  • How do you perceive yourself with regard to class?
  • Do you identify yourself as a Person of Colour or as a white person?
  • Which gender do you identify with?
  • What is your age?
  • Do you see yourself as an able-bodied person or a person disabled by society?

Relationship between social situation and educational work:

  • How many hours per week do you work in education? What prevents or enables you to do it as much as you wish/for more or less hours per week? (care work responsibilities, money, education itself etc.?)
  • Do you usually accept projects and working possibilities that are 1. financially well remunerated, or that 2. match your values and visions, or 3. both? What is required so that you receive fair pay for your work? What enables you to prioritise your values and visions? What conditions allow you to do what you like with sufficient remuneration?
  • Think of your last three projects in the field of education/situations where you worked as an educator – How did your position within the power relations influence your work in terms of:
    • The general topic you invited the group to work on and what motivated you to introduce it?
    • The key concepts used for explanations and the sources referred to?
      • What concepts and sources were used, and from which persons or groups?
      • What forms of knowledge were prioritised?
      • What perspectives were excluded?
    • What basic assumptions and worldviews or “truths about the world” were included in the material without further reflection; and where do you think they came from?
    • What was the language and style of speaking that was mainly used? (English or other? Academic vocabulary or rather accessible everyday language for the group you worked with? Whose everyday language?)

Quick Guide for Sensitive Facilitation


    • Send invitations early and agree collectively on a date and time (e.g. using an open source polling tool)
    • Arrange an accessible physical room or digital room (or both) to reduce the barriers for people to participate

During the meeting:

      • Create a space for people to land in with their bodies and minds
      • Present an introduction to the topic and raise awareness about its sensitivity and complexity
      • Hold an introductory round to get to know names, pronouns and how people feel about the forthcoming reflections
      • Ask for certain needs/access needs to engage in group reflections and create a working code of conduct together (e.g. we do not want interrupt each other, we want to be kind to each other, we want to respect personal boundaries in case someone feels uncomfortable sharing their thoughts, we will probably make mistakes but we will work on it and be open to critical but constructive feedback, we want to have time and space for personal relations and emotions)
      • Raise awareness for shared responsibility within the group for following the code of conduct
      • Keep the agenda lean and provide sufficient breaks (e.g. 3.5 hours in total, 10 minute break after every 45 minutes, three to five questions per 45 minutes)
      • Be transparent:
        • Write down the code of conduct somewhere visible to everyone at all times
        • Share the agenda with everyone and ask for additions/objections
        • Have someone to document your reflections in a protocol, a notepad or elsewhere so you can return to them at a later time, and to reduce hierarchies of knowledge for those members of your group who are unable to attend a session
      • Use (voluntary) energisers to activate people and make it more fun. Integrating small exercises of breathing, movement, awareness, rest and play into your meetings may greatly support the resilience and well-being of the individuals and the group
      • Use interactive methods to enhance participation (e.g. smaller working groups, tandem work, world café sessions)
      • Establish a list of speakers for plenary discussions (if helpful with gender quotas and prioritisation of those who are speaking for the first time/have not yet spoken much)
      • Interrupt people if you observe discriminatory behaviour and if people talk for a very long time in comparison with others in the group, or speak in a domineering manner. Refer to this in the initial introduction of the code of conduct when talking about your role as a facilitator
      • Speak about the next steps and responsibilities, eventually agree on a next date and facilitation already
      • Hold a concluding round to share feelings after the meeting and gain feedback on what can be improved in further meetings


    • Offer emotional care to each other in case people feel uncomfortable with your reflections and discussions
    • Share the protocol with those of your group who did not attend; also provide a quick follow-up round for them in the next session