Publication 11
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BWB Facilitators Guide

by Katia LeMone and Dr. Owen Geiger.
Due out Summer, 2004 from Builders Without Borders.

The BWB Facilitators Guide is the curriculum that accompanies the BWB Straw-Bale Construction Guide. The Facilitators Guide outlines the purpose of each section, activities, discussion topics, technical considerations, time frames and exercises to accomplish the desired goals. Lesson plans on each topic help the instructor convey the concepts in the Straw-Bale Construction Guide.

The Facilitators Guide enables the instructor to teach at a deeper level. It helps get across the key points we want people to go away with and get people to recognize why they’re doing what they’re doing. Anybody can have a how-to book, but the problem is until you do it and see it, people don’t fully understand. This book also provides local communities a curriculum so they can continue building without BWB assistance (developing self-sustaining projects is one of our primary goals).

The Facilitators Guide is designed to be incorporated into BWB workshops which emphasize collaborative learning through hands-on experiences. A typical lesson includes discussions and visual training aids such as slides and handouts, followed by interactive exercises and demonstrations at the building site where participants will immediately begin applying what they have learned. Participants gain experience in all phases of construction by working closely with master builders on the construction of an actual home or other structure.

Instructors serve primarily as facilitators to lead the group and help them learn through an interactive, participatory process that encourages creative thinking, enthusiasm, sharing and reciprocal learning. Learning and implementing local skills and knowledge is highly encouraged. Group discussions allow participants to ask questions, talk about their experiences and make suggestions. This free exchange of ideas adds to the continual development and improvement of the building process. A feedback form at the end of each topic encourages instructors to share their lessons learned so that the Guide will be continually updated and revised.

Katia LeMone is a doctoral candidate, professional curriculum developer and trainer working with Upper Mohawk. Her experience includes work with Native American reservations, government agencies and providing health care in developing countries. LeMone lives in Las Cruces, New Mexico.

Dr. Owen Geiger is the Director of Builders Without Borders, an engineer and licensed contractor specializing in straw-bale construction. He also contributed to Building Without Borders: Sustainable Construction for the Global Village. Geiger lives near Las Cruces, New Mexico.

BWB is an international network of ecological builders working together for a sustainable future.