THE TACTICS OF THE TRAINED FACILITATOR
By Lynn Stuter
July 5, 2003
Following the publishing of two articles, Homeschools, Private Schools and Systems Education and K12® — Panacea or Plague, a hue and cry arose among some K12 users in defense of K12 and its founder, Dr William Bennett.
One individual with whom this researcher exchanged e-mails at length called herself "Gladys" and claimed to be from Milford, Pennsylvania. She claimed she belonged to the Pennsylvania Virtual Charter School using the K12 curriculum.
Gladys began her protest by raising her authoritative voice, intoning that this researcher just didn't know the facts, even though both articles were documented and sourced. Unfortunately, in raising her authoritative voice, Gladys was not addressing the facts brought forth by either article written by this researcher. Instead, Gladys addressed how she felt about K12® which was never the issue. She would claim repeatedly that this researcher was trying to take away her right to a choice in educating her child, yet that was never at issue in either article either. What was and is at issue is the deceptive manner in which K12® is presenting itself to the traditional or true homeschool community and the history of those involved with K12® that points to why the deception.
Gladys would also demand to know this researcher's credentials and made accusations that I had a political agenda, although she was never quite clear on what that agenda might be. It seemed to vary depending on the e-mail.
Gladys finally got around to claiming that she was going to refute what I had written in the two articles fact by fact, line by line. This I really wanted to see, considering both articles were documented and sourced.
What Gladys sent to refute, fact by fact and line by line, was, again, not based in fact, but on how Gladys felt about K12, William Bennett, and what I had written. She accused me of twisting the facts, spinning the truth, and spreading misinformation; but, again, she never quite got around to stating just how that had been done.
When I refused to get caught up in her "I think
... I believe ... I feel" game, Gladys pronounced me unredeemable and
suggested we cease correspondence. My response back to her was returned
by her internet service provider (ISP) as "user unknown":
Date: Sat, 21 Jun 2003 14:15:41 -0500
The original message was received at Sat, 21 Jun 2003 14:15:41 -0500 from smtpk.ha-net.ptd.net
----- The following addresses had permanent fatal errors ----- (expanded from:)
----- Transcript of session follows -----
While Gladys suggested we cease communication what she obviously meant was that she intended to ensure we ceased communication.
None of this would be important were it not for the fact that Gladys did not state but gave every indication she was a trained facilitator. In the so well put words of Mary Thompson, a long-time and well-researched education activist from California, the following is the scenario used by trained facilitators in challenging someone:
"... there is the trained change agent/facilitator whose only means of pseudo debate is their definition of “dialogue”. It requires other listening “ears” since the psychology of group dynamics is foundational. Their first consideration is not to persuade you personally. The objective is to discredit you so you don't influence others. If their “trained” modulated original tone of “voice” doesn't disarm the one they are challenging, they go to the next step of “authoritative” tone designed to impress with “credentials”. When that doesn't work, they challenge the opponent's legitimacy to express facts. When that doesn't work, the knuckles get white, the tone of “voice” becomes shrill, and the motives and accusations of political agenda are used. When that doesn't work, they take their self righteous leave of the scene implying that the challenged party is not worthy of their time and warped wisdom."
The missives from Gladys fit this scenario right down the line. When I refused to rise to the bait as Gladys progressed through her repertoire of tactics, she pronounced me unredeemable and took her self-righteous leave. Of course, what really said it all was when my final e-mail to Gladys was returned as "user unknown." People who have confidence in themselves and what they have written don't usually find it necessary to initiate such drastic measures to ensure they can't be reached.
In Gladys' case, the "listening ears" she wished to reach, and to whom she wished to discredit what I had written, was the K12 Yahoo group. As one must be a member of the group in order to send and receive e-mails within the loop, Gladys was assured a captive audience in which she could pick and choose what was posted for members to see. Other members of that loop did contact me regarding the derogatory remarks posted to the K12 loop about the articles I had written about K12®.
What was very obvious, in the e-mails sent by Gladys, was the fact that while Gladys claimed K12 was very open and up front about being a public school entity (which is not true in all cases), she then went on to equate the K12 Virtual Charter School to homeschooling. She did exactly what true homeschoolers are concerned about: the blurring of the lines between a public school in a home and a true homeschool devoid of government control. From a public school in a home, it is a short leap to considering all schools in the home as extensions of public schools. This has already happened in Canada. The K12® brochure, in the possession of this researcher, makes no clear distinction between the K12 Virtual Academy and the true homeschool. The brochure actually makes it appear that the two are one and the same. Very deceptive.
Returning to the distinction between a traditional homeschool and the K12 Virtual Academy, Gladys stated, at one point, that since joining K12 she had enjoyed less government intrusion than when she was a traditional homeschooler. Had Gladys gone back and re-read what she wrote in consideration of her assertion that the K12 Virtual Academy is a public school entity, she would have realized her statement confirmed that, once back in the system, she did not suffer the harassment that she did as a traditional homeschooler. Again, the purpose of K12 is to pull homeschoolers back into the system. Once there, of course the former homeschooler will no longer be harassed as the government has achieved its goal.
Gladys also stated that the immunization records for her children were held by K12, not the government, as though there were a distinction between the two. There isn't. K12®, in taking the government money, in becoming a public school entity, became an agent of the government, required to fulfill government edicts and mandates. As an agent of the government, the immunization records of her children being in the hands of K12® is the same as placing those records in the hands of the government.
Without realizing it, Gladys confirmed the very issues concerning K12® that many true, traditional, legitimate homeschoolers have. And she did so under the pretext of refuting the same.
In addressing the two articles about or mentioning K12®, Gladys equated how she felt about K12 with fact. This is one of the premier signs of someone who has been facilitated or is a trained facilitator. They don't want to know what you know about the matter, they want to know how you feel about the matter.
There is a reason for this.
There are three domains —
The cognitive domain tempers the affective. In other words, how you feel about something is tempered by what you know. Cognitive and affective together are manifested in psychomotor or how you act.
However, if you want to manipulate someone, you don't appeal to what they know about a given matter as such will conflict with your goal, you make every effort to bypass the cognitive domain and appeal to how they feel about the matter, the affective domain.
Ask anyone who wants to incite a crowd, bolster the troops, encourage the team. Do they play on facts or do they play on emotions? If they are truthful, they will tell you they play on emotions because it is much easier to manipulate how one feels about something than it is to manipulate what they know about something.
The same is true in facilitated meetings. It isn't what you know about the matter at hand that the facilitator is interested in. It is how you feel about the material that has been spoon-fed to you by the facilitator at the beginning of the meeting that the facilitator is interested in getting your feed-back or feelings on.
Those who became involved in community meetings concerning education reform undoubtedly remember how the facilitators relayed to those gathered there all the dire "facts" about education; about seat-time, clock-time, Sputnik, how we had entered the "information age" wherein the old egalitarian system of education, formed when our nation was predominantly agricultural, just wasn't up to the task anymore; how the people gathered "here tonight can start the ball rolling toward a better system of education." It's called propaganda and its purpose is to bypass the cognitive domain by explaining the problem in terms of psuedo-facts that appear plausible but are outside the realm of the expertise of the participants.
Of course, the key word in all that spiel was "information age." Like so many terms used in the transformational process, people were allowed to assume this meant the capability of information to travel at the speed of light. Not so. The "information age" means the use of computers to accumulate, store and analyze personally identifiable data on every man, woman and child in the nation, such to be used to assess whether the populace, by and large, is demonstrating mastery of the outcomes determined necessary to produce the citizen of the global sustainable environment. In short, systems governance depends on the accumulation, storage and analysis of data to determine if the goals are being met and, if not, what needs to be changed to ensure that the greater number of people conform to the wanted behaviors to ensure the goals are met.
Gladys' role, as a trained facilitator, was to try and discredit the true facts, replace the true facts with psuedo-facts, and appeal to the feelings of those on the K12 Yahoo loop. Her purpose, her goal in doing so? To keep them in the system they have joined. All really does mean all and it is imperative to maintaining and sustaining the system that it include all... every man, woman and child.
© 2003 Lynn M. Stuter - All Rights Reserved
Mother and wife, Stuter has spent the past ten years researching systems theory with a particular emphasis on education. She home schooled two daughters, now grown and on their own. She has worked with legislators, both state and federal, on issues pertaining to systems governance and education reform. She networks nationwide with other researchers and citizens concerned with the transformation of our nation. She has traveled the United States and lived overseas. Web site: www.learn-usa.com E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
"... there is the trained change agent/facilitator whose only means of pseudo debate is their definition of “dialogue”. It requires other listening “ears” since the psychology of group dynamics is foundational. Their first consideration is not to persuade you personally. The objective is to discredit you so you don't influence others."