Resources about Using Discussion

Resources about Using Discussion

Improving Discussions

This idea paper by William E. Cashin, Kansas State University, and Philip C. McKnight, University of Kansas, posted at the Center for Faculty Evaluation & Development at Kansas State University, looks at the strengths and weaknesses of discussion approaches and gives some recommendations for cognitive discussions, affective discussions, and improving participation.

Using Discussion to Reach Teaching Goals

Some teaching goals that can be supported well by discussion include (1) increasing student comfort with the language and methods of a discipline, (2) developing critical thinking skills, and (3) solving problems. This article by Kelly McGonigal, Ph.D. from Stanford University offers guidance for using discussion to accomplish this.

Handling Difficult Discussions

Lee Warren for the Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning at Harvard University describes some ways to manage "hot moments" when discussion seems to explode in the classroom and the instructor needs a strategy to turn difficult discussions into opportunities for learning. Hot topics can involve issues of gender, class, race, politics, or religion--issues which affect people deeply. This recognizes the instructor's responsibility to both protect the participants and help students learn from the moment.

Guidance for Difficult Discussions of Specific Topics

The Center for Research on Learning and Teaching at the University of Michigan has collected a series of links to articles that help you foster a classroom climate for constructive discussions about such topics as 9/11, War in Iraq, Tsumani, Racial Conflict and the Language of Hate, Bias, and Discrimination, Hurricane Katrina, and Affirmative Action.