Stimulating Classroom Discussion
(Adapted from the work of Betsy Bach, The University of Montana)
- When asking questions, wait long enough for student response (count to at least 10 very slowly). If they are having trouble, have them write an answer first before discussing it.
- When making transitions from one class to another, ask, "What is the difference between what we learned in yesterday's class and what you came across preparing for today?"
- Always provide an overview of what will be done that day, explain how it is relevant to the topic at hand, and provide a summary, closure, and preview of the next day.
- Ask, "How does this information relate to what we've already covered," or "How is this information relevant to you as a communicator (or as an organizational member)?"
- Ask, "What have you learned," or "How does this relate to what we've already done?"
- When doing mid-quarter evaluations, ask students to evaluate their own behavior in terms of their commitment to the class (e.g., how would you assess yourself at this point?) as evidenced by their involvement in class (or small group) discussion.
- For specific suggestions, read the Frederick article in the reference.
Frederick, P. (1981). The dreaded discussion: Ten ways to start. Improving College and University Teaching, 29, 109-114.