Graphic Facilitation, a “new tool” to teach “Italian”.
Teaching is not a delivery system, it’s an art form – Sir Ken Robinson

Every year ITAMA provides vocational training for our volunteeers. This year we had a workshop on Graphic Facilitation: Drawing out intention, meaning, and action*. Graphic Facilitation is about translating verbal words into visual concepts by lettering, sketches, illustrations, graphics, models and maps…
Here you can find the report, that is even in our site, with a gallery of pictures.

Graphic Facilitation is literally about drawing ,(de)scribing  and capturing a process, a lesson, a conversation, a meeting  graphically in real-time, on large-scale paper in front of a group. It enables everyone to SEE and understand what is intended or explained, to share ideas, and to work together. It helps participants/students to remember what they heard and to better understand complex subjects. They will leave the room with a shared image that amplifies their understanding of the key concepts and shows the sense of the whole content and process that took place in the lesson/meeting.
Associazione PuntoUno offers since 1995 pedagogical consulting and counseling services to families, kids and teachers in the fields of Learning Disabilities, Compartmental Disorders and Training. One of the Workshops Associazione PuntoUno offers is “Graphic Facilitation – Ah, now I see what you mean!”  This year we organized a special edition for the voluntary teachers of ITAMA ; a group of wonderful women, united by the desire to help foreign women who find themselves in trouble in Milan, declaring: "We think that in the same situation we would love to find someone who would welcome us in the new country, willing to teach us the language, and introduce us with the unknown customs and rules, explain us about the school where our children go and regarding the institutions that govern life "....
For this specific environment, where often a common language between teacher and student is missing,  Associazione PuntoUno developed a 1,5 days Introduction Workshop to Graphic Facilitation.  The group of 13 teachers was immediately put to work. Drawing and playing together, the teachers figured out that:
•    they do NOT need to know how to draw like an artist to explain themselves
•    design has an immediate communicative function
•    you can rearrange every object in simple forms.
Later, the group has experienced the essential role of "Lettering". Starting from their own handwriting, the teachers used different fonts and styles, to understand how to best express the meaning of a word. Then it was the time for their first "Graphic Recording", listening and playing, visualizing graphically, in real time, fairytales, short stories and speeches. The participants also began to create their own vocabulary of ideograms, pictograms and characters, and learned how to organize the information using different templates and maps.
The second meeting day was opened with an intense, engaging and interesting exchange of experiences. Many participants told stories about how the first day of the Workshop had influenced their own way to observe and to carefully analyze the graphic messages that we encounter daily. Sharing their “homework” - there were participants who had created already wonderful maps, who had converted their own shopping list in a daily drawing exercise and who reported observations on pictograms in the underground or quotes about Graphic Facilitation - there was also talk of difficulties encountered.
Subsequently, there has again been a lot of practice, Associazione PuntoUno demonstrated how to integrate the newly acquired skills in a potential lesson of ITAMA about some prepositions in the Italian language.
Associazione PuntoUno realized a little cartoon puppet, one side red the other green, with “ IN” on one side and “ A” on the back and another little puppet with the word “DA”  and 3 sheets with images and writings. By moving the puppet along the path shown in the drawing, the following story came to life:
"Once upon a time “IN” Africa (continent) ... a man who moved “IN” Italy (country) to live “IN” Milan (city). Walking “IN” Piazza Duomo (square / street etc) he enters “IN” Posta (bank, post office, institution) and then he goes “DA” il fioraio – the person who sells flowers, bread ecc and s a bunch of flowers falling in love with the woman of the flowershop. Together they go “IN” the theatre (Entertainment/Restaurant/Cinema) then they go “A” casa/home and get “IN” the  Kitchen, Living Room, and if very lucky, the bedroom:-). "
The teachers of ITAMA defined this kind of material very useful (and nowadays they indeed use this material in their lessons), Then they begun to work in groups on their specific needs, namely the preparation of a lesson to:
•    help mothers explain to the pediatrician the symptoms their child reports in case of illness
•    explain the rules relating to the “Kindergarten” that hosts the children while the mothers attend their lessons
•    make visible the cultural process that arises from the acquisition of the (foreign) Italian language.
The second meeting was closed with reflections on the experience of shared practice. Here are some comments from the teachers:
•    "Graphic Facilitation: A new vision = new language. Enlightening. "
•    "I know now I can find other ways to communicate."
•    "It is useful to think with a different light/vision."
From our side, Associazione PuntoUno confirms that Graphic Facilitation, which combines conscious listening, movement, graphics and visualization in one, is a powerful and effective tool in any context where learning and teamwork is in action. We’re glad and proud to have been working together with ITAMA on this important topic. For any further information, please give us a call 39.02.37072105, visit our website or send an email

*Roberta Faulhaber

Graphic Facilitation, a “new tool” to teach “Italian”.
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