World Trust

How to Build an Effective Discussion Group

Posted by World Trust Team on February 12, 2018

You’ve watched the film. You’ve felt its impact. Now what?

Healing Justice can bring up a lot of emotions in its viewers – and it is meant to. As we talked about in our brief overview of transformative learning, emotional reactions create a valuable avenue for change. To channel those emotions into action, we encourage viewers to form a discussion group where all members have seen the film.

World Trust has created a free, downloadable conversation guide to accompany the film and support ongoing discussions around the criminal legal system, its history, and its effects on communities of color today. The film and guide help to organize your group discussions so that you can move from emotion and reaction into action.

group_hug.pngAll participants’ voices are valued, and through collaboration you will explore what role you can play in undoing racism and connecting with others as we work for a more just judicial system. As we have shared in past blog posts, internal work begins with ourselves and our close communities first and it is part of a collective educational, reckoning and healing process that supports mass change.

Below are some suggestions from the guide and some follow-up resources on creating an effective discussion group.

Centering a group:

Whether you are forming a new group or are part of an existing group or class, it is important to have a practice that brings people together at every meeting. World Trust’s conversation guide does this through centering activities and conocimiento (practicing unity) questions.

Other unifying practices may include finding your own ritual for the beginning of every meeting, offering meals, and check-ins about the participants’ lives – formal or informal.

A group is a community, and there is huge value in nourishing the community rather than focusing on the learning alone.

The role of a facilitator:

Facilitators can be rotating or can keep the role for the duration of the group. Keep in mind that offering participants the chance to facilitate the multiple discussion activities can help them build confidence in their voice.

A facilitator is not a group leader – their role is as much about being receptive and listening to the needs of the group as it is guiding people from one activity to the next.

Consider the facilitator role as flexible: facilitators should keep in mind the goals of the group and keep discussion moving, but if the group needs to expand on a subject for longer than planned, then that is what needs to happen.

Group agreements and further resources for meetings:

AORTA, a “worker-owned cooperative devoted to strengthening movements for social justice,” offers an amazing supplementary guide called Making Meetings Awesome for Everyone. Check it out here – it offers great suggestions for how to set up group agreements, the role of the facilitator, and how to foster community in your groups.

NOTE: Every film has a free conversation guide. To download the guide for our most recent film, Healing Justice, click here:

Click Here to Download the Free  Conversation Guide  

Topics: Talk about Race, #WorldTrust, Healing, nautilus, trauma, Healing Justice, racial justice