Strategies to Engage Students Discussion: In today’s era, engaging in student discussion is the most trending issue that every teacher is facing. Every teacher wants to know how to engage with students’ discussions to improve their lives and to teach right and meaningful lessons.
So here Azziblogs has done some research that how as a teacher you can engage with student’s discussion. Please do read these 8 points and comment down if it really helped you out.
Ensure each student speaks and hears their name spoken every class session
A huge part of feeling engaged in class is being seen. Build practices that get you in the habit of saying students’ names. This can be greeting students by name as they enter or inviting students into the class discussion.
If you do not know how to pronounce a student’s name: practice, practice, practice. I often search the student’s name on youtube and listen and repeat until I have it right.
Use circle processes to allow each student a turn to speak.
Circle processes offer to order for students to speak in around. Circle processes work because:
• Each student knows their position in the circle so knows when they will be expected to speak.
• Students do not need to “called on” but rather have a responsibility to speak to complete the class round.
• The circle process is rhythmic and offers each student a designated space within the rhythm.
*Since we are online, I have created a class roster that we follow from top to bottom as our circle “round.”
Employ journaling and sentence frames to help students prepare to speak.
I often ask students to the journal for 5 minutes on a given prompt. After journaling, I will provide a sentence frame for students to solidify their idea.
Then, we use a circle process to go round the “room” and each student reads their sentence frame.
Example: “Free journal for three minutes on whether you consider yourself an introvert or extrovert. Now, use the below circle frame to prepare one statement to read to the class.”
I identified as an extrovert because I talk to my best friends every day.
Always ask students to create or share something in breakouts.
Sending students to breakout groups with the direction to discuss a question is an often unfruitful task. Rather, always ask students to create or share something while in breakouts.
• As a group decides on A, B, or C.
• While in breakouts, each student must find one photo on the internet to represent their assigned term.
• Each student was asked to find an object in their home that represents hope, in your breakouts, each student will share their object.
• Asking each group to design a google slide is also helpful because you can watch creating their designated slide from the large room.
Allow students extra time to be off task.
One pressure I have really put on myself has been filling every class minute. However, students have consistently shared they want more time in breakouts to just see their friends.
I now consistently provide a couple of extra minutes to each breakout to allow students time to go off task. For many students, this is their only time to socialize with classmates.
Provide students breaks and time to be off-camera.
Students have consistently offered me three feedbacks:
1. Students feel pressure to “look a certain way” on camera.
2. Students are spending far too much time looking at screens.
3. Students need time to reflect and fast activities do not allow this time.
I have changed my teaching to:
- Provide activities that do not require the camera. “For this next 10-minute journal activity, you can turn off your cameras.”
- Take at least a five-minute break before the end of each hour.
- Lead into the break with a “big question,” so students have time to reflect on the course content and gather their thoughts before sharing.
Listen intently and turn questions back to the students.
When students speak in class, model the type of active listening we expect in the class.
1. lean into the camera
2. nod, smile, and/or frown
3. offer undivided attention to listening
4. remember and refer to students’ comments later in class or at a later date
Refrain from responding each time a student speaks and turns students’ questions back to the class.
I always find myself drawn to speaking to each students’ comments and answering every question immediately (isn’t that my role as the teacher?) However, students learn best from their classmates, so returning the question to the class is always a valuable option. It also builds students’ confidence on their own knowledge and understanding.
Forgive yourself and request feedback.
Often, I think class discussions go poorly or fall far short of my expectations. This is not a reason to stop. Students need practice and to build confidence in speaking in the classroom. Also, classroom discussion is emotional so always carries a heavier weight than just lecturing at students. Students have been conditioned to understand the classroom as an unsafe space for memorization. It is understandable that developing classroom discussions will take time.
Seek feedback from students. I have used periodic anonymous google forms. In classes where students speak, students’ voices are also invited to comment on our teaching and the class itself.