How to Implement Whole Group Class Discussion in Your Classroom
A whole group class discussion gets all learners in the class talking to one another in one group. When I utilize this method, I try to get learners sitting in a conversation circle. The advantages of learners sitting in a circle are:
- There is a neutral power format with no one at the head of the discussion.
- All learners can see one another.
- Whole class discussions encourage all learners to develop the confidence to share their views in public.
- If the whole class participates, there can be a lot of great back-and-forth.
- Often, the loudest and most confident learners dominate the discussion.
- Some learners are too shy to speak up.
- It is easy to embarrass a learner, so be careful to be sensitive.
- Utilize a speaking stick, so one person speaks at a time. The only person speaking is the person holding the speaking stick.
- Utilize discussion circles so that all learners can see each other when talking.
- If the conversation is slow to start, consider asking individual learners direct questions.
- Utilize open-ended questions to force learners to answer in full sentences.