Weekly Digest #46: Ignite Discussions in the Classroom
When students give feedback to teachers on their teaching one point that often comes up is that they wish there was more discussion. However, when teachers try to get discussions going in the classroom it often fails because only a few students contribute or the discussion ceases after a couple of minutes. In this digest, we provide an overview of different techniques and resources that may help ignite discussions in the classroom.
In this post on the Cult of Pedagogy blog Jennifer Gonzalez gives an overview of 15 techniques to start and maintain classroom discussions. She divides the techniques into three categories: High-prep, low-prep, and ongoing strategies. In addition, she describes variations of the different techniques that allow to implement them flexibly.
2. Facilitating challenging conversations in the classroom by The Teaching Center, Washington University in St. Louis, @WUSTLttc
Rather than looking at concrete strategies this blog post describes conditions that make discussions more likely. They go into detail of factors that make students feel more comfortable which, in turn, increases their confidence in engaging in discussions.
Five strategies are described in this post that are particularly suitable for younger children. Strategies are more game-oriented. Check out the comments on this post, too, as they contain additional ideas from other educators.
4. Nine Ways to Improve Class Instructions by Dr Maryellen Weimer
Nine more tips are suggested in this post that may help create a classroom atmosphere that invites discussions. Particularly interesting is the point of having a couple of so-called note takers whose notes are later shared with the entire class.
5. Facilitating Effective Group Discussions: Tips by The Sheridan Center for Teaching & Learning at Brown University
What to do when classroom discussions take an unpleasant turn or when only one person contributes to it? Troubleshooting strategies for different scenarios are discussed here.
Every Sunday, we pick a theme and provide a curated list of links. If you have a theme suggestion, please don’t hesitate to contact us! Our 5 most recent digests can be found here: