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Grid for conducting the INV project Focus Groups


Focus groups are intended to collect concrete indications for the INV pedagogic model that will be tested in a further step of the project.

Therefore they represent a good opportunity to both discuss and understand the issues related with INV as well as to analyze the training needs of the social operatorswho are working with people with severe Down Syndrome (here after PDS).


First session


1. One metaphor at the beginning could help towards a positive discussion

You can use one of the following metaphors in order to promote consideration on the work with PDS.

  • First metaphor: “Everyone is similar to a glass: there are big glasses, little glasses and very little glasses. Big glasses can hold half a liter, very small ones can hold just few drops. It is important that every glass is full”.

  • The second one: “ An apple tree has to become a good apple tree and a strawberry has to become a good strawberry. In its own way of being, everyone is different. Nobody is a simple repetition of a model. Anyone has to reach the step of a complete blossom regardless of the type of plant he/she is”

Erich Fromm, Art of listening

Examples of possible questions

PDS must be considered as persons as anyone else and therefore they should completely fulfill themselves. Do you agree? Does it reflect your experience ?

Nota bene

After the first participant has broken the ice three situations could occur:

  1. Another participant spontaneously speaks answering to the first participant. You are lucky: FG has started.

  2. Another participant answers to the initial question without taking into account what the first participant said.

  3. Nobody speaks.

If you are in the B) or C) situations, which is most probable the case, your work will consist in creating such a situation where everybody can speak even not considering the FG contents .

This is the most delicate step; you must motivate the group and give everybody a strong creative energy. FG must not become a sum of individual opinions.

For this reason, in this step you must not care too much for contents but facilitate the relationships among participants; in fact, this step is necessary to promote the interaction between participants and not so much to deepen into contents.

You should be able to stimulate the interaction among participants that are distant from each other.


2. Inquire the relations between participants and PDS. If this is the case , start with the more positive participant.

Examples of possible questions

  1. What is the basis of your relationship with people with DSs? Speak about your and their point of view.

  2. Does, the “long and slow” time dimension , belong to your relationship?

  3. Does joyfulness enter in your relationship? When and how does it happen?


3. Try to understand if and how in their relationship with PDS, the feeling of limit is stronger than the dimension of possibility.


Examples of possible questions

  1. How does the idea of disease , shape and influence your relationship?

  2. How does the idea of disease, , shape and influence your educational projects and the planning of your activities?


4. Now discuss the theme of care giving trying to let the participants express their understanding of taking care of PDS and their fatigue due to routine

Examples of possible questions

  1. What is your idea about care giving to a PDS? What is the difference between taking care of and looking after a person ?

  2. Is, in your opinion, the taking care part of the relationship and if yes how do you act it?

  3. Is this taking care included within the educational process as well?


5. At the end, try to understand how much participants see the PDS in his/her wholeness. Ask question always in a positive term.

Examples of possible questions

  1. Describe a PDS whom you have a good and deep relationship with . Please report only his/her positive characteristics and his/her potentialities.

  2. How many times a week doubts, aspirations, desires, suffering, dreams emerge from a PDS person ?

  3. How do you tackle them (doubts, aspirations, desires ….) within the relationship and taking into account the project perspective?

  4. How much time do you devote to the realization of potentialities?


Second session

In this session you need to deepen into the “strong” themes emerged in the first session.

Moderator and assistant moderator should take the most important − and shared issues emerged from the previous meeting and propose them once again.

At the end of the session, you must summarize the most important themes, thanking and appreciating for the commitment and efforts of everybody.