Time needed: 5 to 20 min
Why? Students learn to develop a point of view, articulate an opinion and play an committed role within a group.
When? Discussions can be held before or after students learn something new. If held before, discussions build up motivation to learn – they prepare the mind. If held after, discussions help students to summarize. They make learnt facts active which otherwise they could easily forget.
How? Tell students about the topic you want to discuss and ask for their opinion. Let students give a sign if they want to speak. Make sure only one person speaks at the same time.
Any risks? Teachers should not participate in the discussion as partners, but lead the discussion by asking interesting questions when the discussion gets stuck. Teachers prepare the setting and make sure that everyone is heard. Watch out for those students who never talk and ask for their mind or help to sum things up.
If your students are used to discussions try a different approach on signaling. It’s not necessary you who has to assign the right to talk, but students themselves should learn how to engage in the discussion whenever it is possible to do so. Try to set up chairs and tables in a U- or O-Form so students can actually talk to each other and not from the back to the front.
Discussing a topic is a very fundamental process in a democratic society. It allows to develop, share and exchange views on anything wich can be formed in words and signs.
Don’t raise your voice, improve your argument.