Optional resources - Week 2
There are lots of strategies for developing effective discussion in the classroom. Here’s our pick of supporting resources. Most of them can be found on the National STEM Learning Centre website. Sometimes registration is required to access specific files - this is quick and easy (and indicated below).
Chris Harrison explains the importance of classroom talk in learning and describes some strategies that can help teachers facilitate dialogue and orchestrate discussion.
Developing talk in science [Registration required]
Lots of great ideas for encouraging group talk here.
As well as clips of discussions during science lessons, the teachers featured in these clips also give their tips on facilitating effective discussions. They suggest starting with talk partners, then small groups which have been carefully selected by the class teacher, then in whole class.
Though the video is based on a science lesson, the key points on how to achieve purposeful discussion are applicable throughout the primary curriculum.
There are many ideas for cooperative group-work in this resource. You can choose the most useful group-work arrangement depending on what you want the students to achieve: improved teamwork, knowledge building, developing thinking skills or presentation skills.
There are three video clips here which explore the teacher’s role in promoting and facilitating discussion during a secondary maths lesson.
As you watch the video sequence you could consider the following questions:
- What would need to be included in the introduction to the activity to ensure the discussion is focused, meaningful and helpful?
- How does listening to the discussion help the teacher?
- What considerations should be made by the teacher in deciding how and when to intervene?
- How do you think these issues will influence the way you approach the management of discussion?
The video on promoting discussion is very useful for seeing how students can develop their thinking by discussing questions in groups, giving the teacher a good insight into students’ understanding.
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