What is Class Discussion?
Class discussion is a learning activity in which students form a group to reflect and share their knowledge or to collaborate with each other for solving problems on particular topics. Through interaction and exchange among group members, students can practice a number of practical transferable skills such as logical thinking and analytical skills, communication and interaction skills, arguing and presentation skills etc. Through observing studentsí responses in class discussion, teachers will gain ideas about their studentsí learning progress, and also can possibly improve their teaching, course planning and the course curriculum.
There are various ways of arranging class discussion in a course. The following approaches are some examples:
Think-Pair-Share (Myers & Paine)
This approach is helpful for students preparing for larger class discussion. At the beginning of the class, students are divided into pairs for five to fifteen minutes. The teacher then poses a question to the class, allows the students a few minutes to think of their response, and then asks them to share it with their partner. Students can then have a joint response to report to the class and open up to a larger class discussion.
Problem solving group
Each discussion group of two to six students is given a problem at the beginning of the class. Students in each group have to discuss and collaborate with each other, and generate the most efficient solutions for the problems.
Presentation and discussion
A small number of students in the class are asked to give a short presentation on a given discussion topic. The rest of the students can understand the basic information and listen to some perspectives on the topic before they engage in the discussion. The information presented in the presentation can be used to help stimulating their ideas and building up their opinions and arguments before going into discussion. After the presentation has finished, students will be assigned into groups for discussion.
The roles of students in a discussion group (Brookfield, 2006):
Individual students are often assigned to some of the following roles in a discussion group. Students can rotate through each role during different class meetings.
|Y||Take Time to Set|
|Y||Take Time to Answer|
|Y||Take Time to Correct|
|Y||Take Time to provide Feedback|
|Y||Suitable for Large Class|
|Can substitute with Computers|
|Y||Process Oriented Method|
|Y||Product Oriented Method|
|Preparation for the discussion (individual score):||Student has well- prepared with the course materials, references, and even searched extra resources for the discussion; often cited and referred the resources as evidence to build up arguments and opinions; able to generate and contribute innovative and insightful ideas to the group||Student has prepared with the course materials and references but did not look for extra resources for the discussion; occasionally cited and referred the resources to build up arguments and opinions||Student has only prepared with a few course materials and references for the discussion; did not cite or refer any resources to build up opinions; often repeated other group membersí opinions, or reiterated the same point in the discussion||Student did not prepare with the course materials or references for the discussion; showed difficulty in following the discussion; might even give opinions or arguments that are off-topic|
|Responses to other students in the discussion group (individual score):||Participated and listened carefully to others throughout the discussion; effectively contributed ideas and personal experiences to the discussion; be able to build on othersí comments; stimulated the enthusiasm of sharing of ideas of others without dominating the discussion; be competent to handle challenges and questions from others in the class||Participated and listened to others throughout the discussion; kept trying hard in contributing ideas to the discussion; occasionally built on other membersí opinions; attempted to stimulate the enthusiasm of idea exchange; satisfactorily responded to questions from others in the class||Being not active in listening and participating in the discussion; occasionally built on other membersí ideas and arguments; failed to stimulate others for idea exchange; responded to questions basically, but failed to handle some questions||Being passive throughout the discussion; did not contribute much ideas to the discussion; failed to handle questions most of the time|
|The flow of the discussion (group score):||There was a clear logical flow from one section to the next throughout the whole discussion; It was very easy for others to follow each point in each section||There was a logical flow in most of the sections throughout the discussion; it was easy for others to follow most of the points in each section||The flow of the discussion was still observed, but with contradictions in some areas; it was a little hard for others to follow each point in each section||The flow of the discussion could hardly be followed and observed; assistance from the teacher was needed in order to maintain the flow of the discussion|
|Teamwork (group score):||There was excellent collaboration in the group; students respected and complemented each othersí opinions||There was good collaboration in the group; students attempted to get everyone involved and complemented each othersí ideas||There was little collaboration in the group; not everyone was actively engaged in the group||No teamwork could be observed|
Copy and paste the text below:
Chan C.(2009) Assessment: Class Discussion, Assessment Resources@HKU, University of Hong Kong [http://ar.cetl.hku.hk]: Available: Accessed: DATE