Tag Archives: discussion

Assessing student discussions

A couple of years ago, a thoughtful colleague challenged our faculty to think more systematically about how we assess class discussions. (Thanks, Jeff!) I’ve been puzzling over it ever since, and this is where I’ve gotten so far. For most … Continue reading

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Taking risks: an experiment in letting go of the reins

I barely spoke in my new senior elective last week. When I came into class, I didn’t know what the students had read. I wasn’t sure what we’d be emphasizing in class. No, I’m not confessing to a mid-life crisis. … Continue reading

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The Power of Questions

Over the summer, I read Santana and Rothstein’s book, Make Just One Change:  Teach Students to Ask Their Own Questions.  I kind of wanted to dislike it–there’s a slight tone of just-follow-these-three-easy-steps-to-weight-loss-in-15-days which bugs me–but I have to say that, … Continue reading

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Approaches to Class Discussion

Well, the end of the semester hit me, and a few days turned into weeks, but now I’m back to thinking about discussions. I spent awhile this spring systematically reading my way through other the descriptions other teachers have posted … Continue reading

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A silent discussion

I tried something new with my World History classes today, and I loved it enough I think I’m going to make it a regular thing.  My dilemma for today was that it was National Day of Silence, a day on … Continue reading

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What do I mean by a scholarly discussion?

What should the ideal class discussion look like? I’m thinking about wonderful discussions I’ve had with groups of working academics in the past.  What made them different from the discussions my students have?  The scholars are experts in their fields, … Continue reading

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Discussion leading vs. teaching discussion–what are we doing, anyhow?

We all know what we want a discussion class to look like:  all students should be engaged and active participants, the tone should be one of civil egalitarianism, the points should be on-topic and well grounded in evidence, and the … Continue reading

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Talking about things, or why is discussion so hard?

The first year I taught a high school class after years leading college discussion sections, one of my students complained on an end-of-the-year evaluation that “all we do is sit around and talk.”  I was appalled at the difference between … Continue reading

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