Discussions are a great way to engage students and encourage shared understanding of course content.
Top Tips When Facilitating Discussions
- remind students this is a safe environment, though we don't always have to agree it is important we respect each other's options and avoid language that is accusatory or overtly negative
- decide how the discussion fits into the overall course, connects to your learning goals
- explicitly described and well-structured questions support the students to interact and construct higher order knowledge, for instance, topics may involve or invoke personal experience, hypothetical scenarios, opinions (with substantiation), student-created work, video clips, etc.
- make sure discussion topics are open-ended enough for students to each have a unique response, drawing on their prior knowledge and reflection
- try to avoid the rigid answer and reply in favor of discussions that foster debate, reflection like what they know now and what they will learn, application by explaining or defending strategies for completing a project, or discuss the decisions they made and why to complete a task