How do you create a lesson plan to offer the opportunity for debate and best engage students in discussion?
Everyone can be a talker if prompted correctly
Diary submitted by Lolita M, Erasmus+ internship in Valencia
In this essay I will discuss how I create the lesson plan for a group discussion class followed by what I do during the class to best engage student discussion.
For the group discussion class my first preparatory step is to read the material for the topic before the class starts. Reading on the topic and familiarising myself with the questions on offer helps me understand the direction the discussion might go in. Once I have familiarised myself with the material, I write a couple of notes on the topic that spring to mind, that aren’t already mentioned on the teacher sheet. This helps me prepare for the topic further. If applicable, I like to print a picture that is related to the topic, preferably a controversial picture. For example, for the topic of Feminism, I printed out the picture of the first women to wear shorts. In the picture, behind the two women in shorts there was a car that has crashed into a lamppost, presumably due to looking at thew women in shorts. Having a picture prepared for the lesson helps open up the discussion when in class.
During the lesson, I would first write the topic of our discussion on the board and ask the question of: “what springs to mind when you hear (topic) ?”. Once the students have given me their thoughts, I would place the picture in the middle of the table for them all to see, followed by a number of open ended questions based on what is depicted in the image, such as: “what do you think is happening in this picture?” Or “could you please tell me how this picture makes you feel?”. This helps open up the debate and encourages students to talk. I always make sure to avoid close-ended questions in a discussion as it does not promote a debate. Once the students have started answering my questions and the discussion has started to develop, I will further engage the students in the discussion by asking for further explanations on their given answers, which helps keep the discussion flowing. At times when the conversation seems to die down, I will provide a short controversial story relation to the topic to further help promote a new discussion. Giving a short explanation or a story helps prompt new discussion. Using these methods has always worked for me in the past and promoted engaged discussion.
Overall, I have discussed how I prepare for the discussion classes and what methods I apply during the class in order to keep the discussion flowing.