Nine Ways to Improve Class Discussions — from by Maryellen Weimer


So this post offers some simple suggestions for increasing the impact of the discussions that occur in our courses.

  1. Be more focused and for less time
  2. Use better hooks to launch the discussion
  3. Pause
  4. Have note takers
  5. Talk less or not at all
  6. End with something definitive
  7. Use the discussion – Keep referring to it!
  8. Invite students to suggest discussion topics
  9. Discuss discussions – Briefly is fine.


From DSC:
From my teaching time yesterday, I wished that I had done a better job with the transitions into and out of our class discussions. I wish that I had better prepped them for the discussion that we were about to have and to better summarize some of the key points from the class discussions.  I ended up emailing them the key points that I wanted to emphasize…so there are other ways to recover from those times that we aren’t on our best game in any particular class. Also, I would add to the above list, have different students be in charge of leading the discussions — and then see if the discussions/participation rates pick up.