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Discussion methods

Teaching is an art of assisting sstudents to learn. All good teaching is characterized by proper teaching method. The discussion method is one in which the sstudents and the instructor exchange their ideas in order to get a better understanding of a topic. It can be a whole period or be a part of a lesson. Types 1. Group Discussion as a Teaching Method 2. Group Discussion is a modified form of classroom lecture where the focus is shared between the instructor and the sstudents for information transfer.

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Typically, an instructor will stand before a class and present information for the sstudents to earn but the sstudents will also participate by answering questions and providing examples. 3. Panel. In a panel discussion, a small group of individuals (from three to five) who are knowledgeable about a particular subject discuss the topic among themselves in front of an audience. Panel participants make no formal presentations; they exchange ideas through conversation. 4. Dialogue. This method is very ssimilar to a panel discussion, but only two individuals take part in discussing the subject in front of an audience. . Symposium. In a symposium, a small number of speakers ho are knowledgeable about a particular subject make short presentations in succession. These presentations usually range from five to fifteen minutes each. 6. Forum. This form of discussion allows for participation by the audience. 7. Colloquy. This method combines a panel discussion with a forum. During the course of a panel discussion, audience members may be invited to comment or ask questions if panel members need to clarify points. When the matter has been resolved, the organized discussion among panel members resumes. . Buzz Session. The audience is divided into groups of six to eight persons for discussion of elevant questions posed by the leader. One individual from each group may be asked to summarize the group’s discussion and report to the entire audience. 9. Audience Reaction Team. Three to five members of the audience are preselected to listen to a presentation and respond by offering a brief summary and interpretation of the information presented. This discussion method can be used effectively in large group settings and when time is limited. 10. Question Period.

Members of the audience are provided an oopportunity to ask questions of program participants after heir formal presentations have been completed. Usually, a time limit is set for each question and for the entire question-and-answer period. 1 1 . Brainstorming. Members of the audience are encouraged to participate by sharing their ideas or suggestions for solving a problem. No discussion of each point is allowed until all ideas have been expressed. Since the intent of this discussion method is to generate a wide range of ideas. The atmosphere should be open and encouraging. 2. Discussion Group. A group of people meet informally to discuss a topic of mutual concern. 13. Workshop. A small group of people (25 or fewer) with a common Interest meet to study, researcn, ana Olscuss a speclTlc suDJect or to enhance their individual knowledge. 14. Seminar. A group of people who are studying a specific subject meet for a discussion led by a recognized authority. 15. Conference. Large or small groups of people having ssimilar interests meet to hear formal presentations to the entire group. Requisites Characteristics of a Good Discussion A.

The Physical Environment – Be aware of the fact that the seating arrangement can influence an attempted discussion. 1. Place yourself in the circle so that the majority of the sstudents will be facing you. Make sure there are not empty seats in the circle. 2. Make sure you can see everybodys face and that they can see yours. 3. Make the circle as tight as possible without it being uncomfortable. This will keep the noise level down. Put the “rowdy” sstudents closest to you. Involve them by making them feel a part of the group B. Involvement – 1. Try to involve everyone in the discussion. 2. Know the names of your sstudents and use them. . Give verbal praise to those who contribute to the discussion. Example: “Thanks for sharing that, Payal! ” 5. Be a facilitator. This helps to encourage the sstudents to express their opinions. Help the group find aanswers rather than giving them the aanswers. 6. Never ridicule a wrong answer. Rather, ask at least two other sstudents what they think. In this way the student is corrected by his peers (hopefully! ) and not by you. This also allows the student to be corrected in a tactful way and thus he will still feel free to share his opinions. 7. Keep the group “tuned in” by eye contact with your sstudents constantly.

Be aware f non-verbal clues that suggest that the kids are disinterested, i. e. , yawning, whispering to a friend, etc. C. Asking Good Questions Questions are a fundamental part of discussion groups. Good discussions usually stem from asking quality questions. Questions can enhance the discussion and even change the atmosphere of the group itself. D. Experiential Learning We learn best when we are actively involved in the learning process. Using the discussion method, a student’s personal experiences are followed by observation, reflection, and analysis of these experiences.

This process leads to formulation of bstract concepts and generalizations, which, in turn, leads to hypotheses to be discussed and tested in future experiences. E. Emphasis on Sstudents Sstudents’ experiences serve as the basis for the discussion Although the teacher must have a specific goal in mind and a general framework for reaching the goal, student input determines the specific direction the discussion takes. Merits 1. Emphasis on Learning instead of Teaching, Discussion Method emphasises pupil-aactivity in the form of discussion, rather than slmply telllng ana lecturlng Dy tne teacner. I nus, tnls metnoa Is more erec

Participation by Everybody. In this method, everybody participates in the discussion, and therefore thinks and expresses himself. This is a sure way of learning. 3. Development of Democratic way of Thinking. Everybody cooperates in the discussion, and the ideas and opinions of everybody are respected. Thus, there is a development of democratic way of thinking and arriving at decision. 4. Training in Self-expression. During discussion, everybody is required to express his ideas and opinions in a clear and concise manner. This provides ample opportunities to the sstudents for training n self-expression. . Spirit of Tolerance is inculcated. The sstudents learn to discuss and differ with other members of the group. They learn to tolerate the views of others even if they are unpleasant and contradictory to each others’ views. Thus, respect for the view points of others is developed. 6. Learning is made Interesting. More effective learning is possible when the sstudents discuss, criticise and share ideas on a particular problem. Active participation by the sstudents in the discussion makes learning full of interest for the sstudents. This also ensures better and effective earning. . Motivation: It helps in motivating the sstudents through their participa tion in discussion and it helps in developing student’s ability to express them orally. 8. Logical reasoning: All the sstudents try to give more practical and logical reasons for their beliefs and dis-beliefs as a result of which, feeling of healthy competition gets developed in them. Such kind of competitive atmosphere helps in motivating the sstudents to get more and more knowledge from various sources. Limitations 1. Tend to get off topic if the instructor doesn’t continually redirect ideas. 2.

Not uitable for presenting information for the first time. 3. Content is limited and the method is time consuming. 4. The larger the groups the more difficult it is to guide the discussion. 5. All types of topics cannot be taught by Discussion Method. 6. This method cannot be used for teaching small children. 7. More informed and eager pupils tend to monopolize the discussion. 8. Some sstudents may not take part while others may try to dominate. In spite of these limitations, Discussion Method is a very useful and effective method for the teaching of home science. Role of a teacher The Teacher’s Role in the Group Discussion

In a discussion involving the total group, the teacher’s role is a crucial one. As the one who does the major share of the planning and preparation, and who usually leads the discussion, the teacher is the dominant and central figure. In the planning and preparation stage, the teacher may need to orient sstudents to the discussion technique in order to prepare them to use discussion time economically. They will need to be encouraged or directed to do some reading or other research and to make note of posslDle questlons prlor to tne Olscusslon. I ne teacner also wlll need to De prepared ith current information.

If the class for bank tellers is going to discuss security problems, the teacher may find it necessary to learn about the latest security techniques before leading the class on the topic. During preparation, the teacher can also prepare a list of pertinent and leading questions, designed to help cove the necessary ground and stimulating thinking. The teacher should plan the setting for close but informal grouping, with chairs in a semi-circle, in clusters, or around a large table or grouping of tables. The teacher-leader should be located near the apex of the ushaped group, r wherever all sstudents can see and hear him/her.

As the discussion begins, the teacher should lead off by introducing the topic to be discussed, the general limits of the topic, and the time schedule agreed on. The teacher should make the problem clear to all by stating it in specific and direct terms. For example, the teacher in the child care class would not announce the topic simply by saying “Today we are going to discuss lead poisoning,” but perhaps by saying, “What is the scope of the problem of lead poisoning in children today, and what actions can be taken to control the problem? ”

The teacher may formulate some leading questions while a student writes the on the chalkboard. Such questions might be: How serious is the problem of lead poisoning in children:” Why are children more seriously affected than adults? What can the government do about the problem? What can the child care worker do? It will be necessary to allow some “warming-up” time, but as the group gains more experience in discussion, less teacher prompting will be needed. The teacher need not be afraid of some silence as sstudents organize their thoughts, but dead stops in the discussion should be avoided by the use of stimulating questions.

As the discussion progresses, the teacher should attempt to establish a free and friendly atmosphere in which contributions can be made without fear, and all have an equal oopportunity to participate. The teacher sets the friendly tone, gives consideration to all contributions, and guides the talk within the outlines of the problem. Each member is encouraged to contribute, with special attention being given to sstudents who are timid or who have difficulty in expressing themselves in public. The extent of learning is closely related to the degree of student interaction and participation.

The skillful discussion leader develops an awareness of facial expressions and is sensitive to enthusiasm and to the attitudes of the group. At this stage of the discussion, the teacher should be stimulating sstudents to reason out the problems, helping them to evaluate what they hear, and suggesting possible class activities as outgrowths of the talk. If several small group discussions are operating, the teacher can circulate quietly among the groups, guiding the discussions as he/she would with the total group.

In addition, the teacher can make periodic summaries of the discussion, and can ormulate generalizations applicable to other situations. The teacher may also keep the thinking open by taking the weak side of a question, suggesting an opinion to arouse controversy, or acting as “the devil’s advocate. ” In an office practice class Olscusslon 0T pay ana worKlng conaltlons, Tor Instance, tne teacner may take tne position that lower pay for women is Justified because of their high turnover and the lesser demands made on them.

The purpose of this controversial statement would be to force sstudents to substantiate their contentions to the country. All of this is done from the teacher’s background of knowledge about the subject, but without attempting to force a personal position on the class and without imposing a predetermined solution to the problem. This kind of openness requires a leader who is free from a drive to determine, who is personally secure and willing to be a follower sometimes, and who can restrain his/her own desire to talk. Some situations may develop in the course of a class discussion that can be difficult to handle.

The following list addresses some potential problems and suggests some possible solutions to these problems. The Teacher’s Role in the Panel Discussion The panel leader (in this case, the teacher) is the most important member of the panel. He or she directs preplanning activities, assists any member who is having trouble, and takes responsibility for the overall functioning of the group. A wellprepared leader builds discussion outline”usually a series of questions concerning major issues. The questions may never be asked in exactly that form, but the leader can use them to help keep the discussion within the guidelines.

The leader has the responsibility to oversee the panel members’ preparation and performance. Each member needs to get an over view of the whole problem from reading, then study his/her own particular aspect of the problem (e. g. , the present state of affairs, steps that might be taken, and the effects of such action). During the discussion, the members are exchanging ideas among themselves, but they are doing it for the benefit of the class, so they should partially face and talk to each other, and partially to the audience. Prepared speeches are not in order.

The effective panel member (aided by the teacher) will” 00make short contributions, not over one minute in length 00ask probing questions f the other panelists 00follow the discussion of the other panelists 00follow the discussion carefully, actually listening to what others have to say 00relate remarks to what already has been said Douse tact and a friendly approach, and avoid disparaging remarks As the panel opens, the leader offers introductory remarks, states the problem, asks a question of a panel member, or challenges the group.

Surprisingly, perhaps, the effective leader usually is the quietest person on the panel. He/she gently steers the discussion, clarifies concepts, and allows the free flow of ideas. As in the group discussion, the leader may need to control the overly-talkative person, encourage the timid, keep the discussion reasonable and cool, and keep the talk on the topic. One of the more exacting responsibilities of the leader is to provide smooth transitions from one aspect of the problem to another.

This can be done by a short summary of the discussion up to that point, and an equally short introduction to the next phase of the discussion. When the panel comes to a close, the leader makes a very brief summary 0T tne Olscusslon”a remlnaer 0T wnat tne panel nas Sala, ana tne points o greement reached. After the panel discussion, the leader may invite questions from the class, with a remainder that they are to be brief and to the point. A suggested timing for the whole process might be as follows. 05 minutes for introductions and remarks 0025 to 35 minutes for the panel 005 to 10 minutes for student questions 005 minutes for the teacher’s critique of the panel process. It is often helpful for the teacher to follow through during the next class period with review of the principles evolved through the discussion. It is at this time, also, that the teacher can give the lass the benefit of his/her own ideas and understandings on the topic and can present his/her general expert conclusion. The Teacher’s Role in the Symposium In order to gain maximum benefit. rom the symposium. It would be helpful if all interested classes could be brought together at the same time for the symposium. Sstudents can, of course, assist in all phases of the planning. They can help in locating suitable speaker’s formally inviting them to participate, providing transportation or greeting them at the school, and thanking them at the close of the meeting. Ultimately, however, it is the teacher’s responsibility to be sure that all of these arrangements have been handled satisfactorily.

The symposium if not difficult to conduct. the topic is announced briefly and stated clearly, the speakers are introduced and their special backgrounds noted, and the first speaker is called upon to begin he/her presentation. The chairman can make a short transitional statement as the second speaker has been given a specified time for his/her presentation and his held responsible for presenting a particular aspect of the problem, the chairman oes not direct the discussion or interject his/her own ideas.

At the end of the formal speeches, the chairman may direct audiences questions toward specific speakers for responses. A following class period might be used for group discussion of what the class has learned from the symposium. This would also he the correct time for the teacher to present his/her own reactions and conclusions. As in any discussions technique, the teacher should help the class evaluate the experience they have Just had, and suggest to the group how they can improve on the experience in future situations of this kind.


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