Templates for Discussion Lessons

Because discussions are, by design, more free-form and student-driven than almost anything else we do, ideas for discussion classes are really more methodological approaches than templates.  That said, here are a few structured exercises aimed at teaching the basic skills of discussion to students for whom the idea is new, followed by links to broader systematic approaches.  I’ve tried to untangle those systems in this blog post.

Discussion Days

Chalk Talks (Coalition of Essential Schools)

Fishbowls (Paideia)

The handout on Participating in a Discussion Class  I give my students

The rubric I use to give feedback on student discussions.

And not a discussion per se, but a way to get one off on a better footing: Question Exercise

Some ‘systems’:

“Harkness Plan”.  Exeter is great at doing it but not all that great at explaining it; for a couple of interesting teachers’ accounts, try here and here.

“Paideia Seminars”:  see a more concrete description here.

“Guided discussion”


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