Talking is the foundation of literacy. It helps students begin to make connections between the words they say and the words/sounds they hear and write. Class discussion encourages students to listen and respond, to find connections previously unnoticed, and build an amiable learning environment.
Class discussions further allow students to engage in deeper learning strategies as they co-construct knowledge. In fact, when done well, John Hattie's decades of research shows that students can gain two years of learning in one year simply by engaging in such discussions. This means the instructor might have to step to the side and let the students' discussions lead to deeper questioning and thus deeper understanding.
Below are seven discussion strategies you can use tomorrow to engage students in deeper learning. These are great unobtrusive assessments!
Instructors will engage students in listening strategies and targeted responses.
Instructors will engage students in critical thinking and application (deep learning).
Instructors will provide students practice using relevant evidence.
Instructors will increase students use of 21st century soft skill: dialogue.
Instructors will practice using intentional questioning techniques with varied DOK levels.
Modeling and practicing conversation is a good first step before implementing any of these strategies.
Chat Stations are a great way to get students talking about topics before engaging in a whole class discussion. Additionally, this strategy gets them up out of their seats as they move around the room from station to station. This strategy can be used K-12.
Pinwheel discussions allow students to engage deeper with reading material, concepts, or history by evaluating a topic through the lens of a historical figure, representative of a time period/concept, or author. It is suitable for grades 3-12. Read the Pinwheels Discussion Guide or watch this video.
Hot Seat Discussions
Hot Seat, like Pinwheel Discussions, allow students to engage with material through impersonation. This particular strategy has three options for implementation. It can be used for K-12.
This strategy is a fantastic way to introduce a new topic to students. It can be used in every subject, and puts the process of critical thinking at the forefront of learning through inquiry. Read the Concept Attainment Guide.
If you are looking for a way to get students up and talking, this is the strategy for you. It is easy to apply to a variety of tasks, and is a relevant choice for both light-hearted ice-breakers and deep ethical debates. Read the Philosophical Chairs Guide for directions and alternatives.
If you've played wastebasket review games, this is a great group-focused twist on that activity. Read the Crumple and Shoot Guide to learn how to implement it for review in your class.
EARN THE BADGE
See the attached rubric to know how your submission will be assessed (click 3 dot Options menu at the top and choose Show Rubric). To earn the badge, you must obtain 6 of the possible 7 points. Worth 1 DGH.