Friday, March 16, 2012

Class Discussion

Question: What usually occurs in classroom discussions?

Answer/Quote:”I begin by asking the class, ‘Can you describe what often happens in class discussions?’ They tentatively raise their hands and respond with such comments as, ‘The teacher does most of the talking’; ‘one or two smart kids do all the answering’; ‘No one wants to talk’; ‘Kids are rude’; ‘Discussions are boring’; and, worst of all, ‘We never learn anything; we just don’t understand the stuff we’re supposed to be talking about.’ ” p. 43,

Question: How should students respond to other students’ ideas in a class discussion?

Answer/Quote: “Discussion Cue Sheet”:
> Can you say something similar using other words?

> What did you like about the previous contribution?

> What new ideas did that contribution give you?

> What puzzled you about the last statement?

> What in the last statement had not occurred to you before?

> How did the person who made the last statement arrive at that conclusion?

> Can you elaborate, explain, or give another example of the last statement?

> What puzzled you as you were trying to think of an answer to this question?

p. 44.

Question: How can students evaluate their contributions to the class discussion?

 Answer/Quote: Self-Evaluation:
> Did I contribute to the discussion?

> Did I encourage others to contribute or clarify ideas?

> What would I like to do in the next discussion? How can I do this?

> Who was the person who contributed the most interesting or valuable comments?

> Who was the Most Valuable Player in keeping the discussion going?

> Who encouraged me the most in the discussion?

p. 45.

Question: How might teachers “wrap up” a class discussion?

Answer/Quote: “It is critical to conclude the discussion session on a positive note by summarizing what students have said, by adding my own comments about what I would like to see next time, and by making a final ‘uplifting’ statement, usually beginning with the words, ‘I was really pleased….’” P. 47.

Comment: A lot of interesting ideas for managing a good class discussion. I was guilty of all of the comments by students in response to the question, “What usually happens in a class discussion?” But I did learn how to use student questions to develop a good format for class discussions. RayS.

Title: “Teach Each Other: Connecting Talking and Writing.” Margo Sorenson. English Journal (January 1993), 42-47.

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