Ted Hovet, English/FaCET
This is an overview of some of the questions and issues that surround face-to-face
discussions in the “traditional” classroom.
A discussion, of course, is some kind of verbal interchange among students and the instructor. It can take the form of a dialogue, a conversation, or a debate—its parameters are very flexible.
What a discussion should not be is a lecture in disguise, in which the instructor controls the agenda and has the “right” answers in mind. It should also not be used as “filler,” but should have the same kind of clear goals and outcomes as any other classroom activity.
Perhaps the most important thing for instructors to consider is WHY they wish to engage students in discussion and to acknowledge that there can be frustrations with this classroom activity. Having clear goals and outcomes, along with thorough preparation, can resolve many of the potential problems with classroom discussion.
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