Classroom Discussion Guidance

(This is the classroom discussion guidance of Shane Doyle’s curricular unit, Tribal Oral Traditions and Languages in the Plains Region of the Lewis and Clark Trail.”)

These lessons rely heavily upon classroom discussion.  There are many questions listed that 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, pair shares, etc., in addition to 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 in a way 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 dominate a discussion and it’s easy to allow some students to just sit back and tune out.  This is when we have to be both creative and informed.  There are many ways to structure discussion so that everyone participates and what will work varies by class and by student.  That said, it is also important to understand at a deeper level why some students participate and some do not.