Linda B. Nilson: Maximizing Student Learning and Participation in Discussions
We all lead a discussion in our classes at least occasionally, and it can be a challenging teaching method. At times how well one goes seems unpredictable and uncontrollable. Actually, we can take certain measures to ensure good discussions on a regular basis—some involving the content, some student motivation, and others the social climate of the classroom. This workshop both explains and demonstrates effective ways to launch and sustain discussions that elicit higher-order thinking and thoughtful contributions from many different students in the class. Most of the suggested techniques apply both in the classroom and online. By the end of this workshop, you will know when to use discussion (depending on the learning outcomes) and how to facilitate a more productive and engaging one: by crafting and organizing good discussion questions, by motivating students to prepare for and pay attention during discussions, and by ensuring broad student participation.