How can I engage my students in meaningful discussion?
Students will engage in discussion if the topic is meaningful to them. It has to be relevant to current new topics, current research, current learning, their community and their environment just to name a few. If students feel like they are contributing to an authentic conversation they will feel their input has value. Students are not clueless, and are able to identify non-authentic discussions rather quickly.
My class discussion has gotten out of control. How do I get it back under control?
The first defense is to have had a good offense. Did you set the rules for the discussion before it began? If not, stopping the conversation and laying out some ground rules isn’t a bad idea.
Facilitating Small Group Discussions
Small group discussions are a great way to get students to engage with each other without the fear of having to address a large group. Often there are one or two students in the group who feel comfortable addressing the larger group and some who wish to participate in discussion without the pressure of public speaking. Breaking students into groups is a great way to leverage this.