Discussion

These resources offer practical ideas for encouraging students to participate in discussions, using various discussion strategies in various class sizes (including large classes), and fostering student-led discussions.

  1. Difficult topics (podcast) by IDEA. This podcast offers ideas for how to bring up challenging or divisive topics within the context of university courses, and how to facilitate civil, productive conversations. The podcast is accompanied by related web resources.

  2. Discussion as a Way of Teaching: Tools and Techniques for Democratic Classrooms (book) by Stephen Brookfield and Stephen Preskill. This is a guide to planning, conducting, and evaluating discussions. This resource offers a variety of practical ideas, tools, and techniques for creating democratic classrooms. Brookfield, S. D., and Preskill, S. Discussion as a Way of Teaching: Tools and Techniques for Democratic Classrooms. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass,2005.

  3. The Discussion Teacher in Action: Questioning, Listening and Response (book) by Christensen, C. Roland, 1991. Christensen, C. Roland. "The Discussion Teacher in Action: Questioning, Listening, and Response." In Education for Judgment, edited by C. Roland Christensen, David Garvin and Ann Sweet, 153-172. Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 1991.

  4. Encouraging Class Discussion (webpage) A Berkeley Compendium: Suggestions for Teaching with Excellence.  Presents links leading to quick tips for each step of the discussion process.

  5. Encouraging Student Participation in Discussion (webpage) from Tools for Teaching by Barbara Gross Davis; Jossey-Bass: 1993. Strategies for increasing active participation of students during a class.

  6. Guide to Classroom Discussion (webpage) by Dr Cavanaugh, Educational Technology.  Provides many links that outline strategies to lead discussions, prepare students, communicate expectations, evaluate classroom discussions, and so forth.

  7. Large Classes: A Teaching Guide (discussions) (webpage) by the Center for Teaching Excellence, University of Maryland. Resource focussing on enhancing learning in large classes through discussions.

  8. Leading Classroom Discussion (webpage) by the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching, Iowa State University. Outlines the importance of classroom discussions, balancing safety and challenge, and getting to know the students.  This resource also provides strategies to facilitate and enhance discussions.

  9. Learning to Discuss: Strategies for Improving the Quality of Class Discussion (article) by Jocelyn Hollander.  This article provides strategies for improving classroom discussions. Hollander, Jocelyn A. Learning to Discuss: Strategies for Improving the Quality of Class Discussion. Teaching Sociology 30, no.3 (2002): 317–27.

  10. Special report: Tips for encouraging student participation in classroom discussions - Faculty Focus (article). Includes several articles that speak to diverse aspects of class discussion, from strategies to encourage participation to rubrics and other means of assessing students' class contributions. Magna Publications: The Teaching Processor.

  11. Student-Led Discussion Manual (webpage) by Robert Schaible and Gale Rhodes.  Manual presenting rules and useful tools for student-led discussion.  This guide contains suggestions that may be useful to anyone who leads or participates in discussions. Schaible,R. & Rhodes, G. (1992). Talking students/listening teachers: The student-led discussion. Issues & Inquiry in College Teaching & Learning, 15, 44.

  12. Using Think-Pair-Share in the College Classroom (pdf) by Susan Ledlow, Center for Learning and Teaching Excellence, Arizona State University. Describes a low-risk but high-impact teaching strategy to foster active engagement even in large classes.

McGill University is located on land which has long served as a site of meeting and exchange amongst Indigenous peoples, including the Haudenosaunee and Anishinabeg nations. McGill honours, recognizes and respects these nations as the traditional stewards of the lands and waters on which we meet today.