Classroom Discussion Guidance

(This is the classroom discussion guidance of Shane Doyle’s teaching unit, Traditional Native Games Along the Lewis and Clark Trail.”)

The lessons rely upon classroom discussion, and the many questions listed are intended to engage students in active reflection on the topics presented. While teachers may employ many facilitating activities for discussion, including small-group discussions, whole-class discussions, and pair shares, along with different discussion recording methods like word webs, post-it lists, graphic organizers, picture notes, etc., the end goal is to get students talking to each other on a more-than-superficial level that engenders positive classroom communities through caring relationships.

Many teachers note that it is difficult to get some students to engage in discussion. Often, it seems like one or two students will be the most active participants in a discussion which then allows some students to just sit back and tune out. This situation requires being both creative and informed, and also thinking about the many ways to structure discussion so that everyone participates while recognizing that what can work varies by class and by student. With that said, understanding at a deeper level why some students participate and some do not is also important.