As people develop their public engagement (aka outreach or communication or informal/free-choice education) practices, they may begin to think about the style they use when engaging. One tool that agricultural educators often draw on is Kolb’s educator roles based on the experiential learning cycle. In short, the role you take on in the engagement process depends on the part of the cycle the learner (what you might think of as your audience) is in and moving to: concrete experience, reflective observation, abstract conceptualization, or active experimentation.
When you are engaging with someone, are you acting as a coach, facilitator, expert, or evaluator? Truth is, it should depend on the situation and your goals as well as the goals of the partners in the engagement. As you expand your practice, look into these various roles and think about when you might use one or more in a given engagement situation. If you find you rely overly on one style, ask yourself whether you are just engaging in a lot more situations of a single type, or if your style might not match your goals very well.
You can participate in the research on these roles and get your own profile here.
My profile (as of today) –
Looks like I could use a little more balance, but then again, these days I mostly work one-on-one or in small groups with undergraduates and grad students for research. I don’t teach classes, though I occasionally facilitate workshops.