Question Detail

I feel like some classes love participating in class discussion, and some classes don't. How do you get those quieter classes to become involved in class discussions?

Apr 10, 2016 12:51pm

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  • Class Culture

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    • Apr 12, 2016 7:54am

      Oftentimes I find it helpful to tailor a conversation to my audience. Perhaps frame the prompt/problem around US Women's soccer if I have a class of sporty girls or around Batman vs. Superman if I have a classroom full of nerds *I can use this term freely as I am one of them ;) If you are unsure, have the students brainstorm a topic of interest. Adapt your lesson to suit their wants/needs. You'll both be better off as a result.

      • Apr 16, 2016 1:11pm

        I've had students write down answers to questions I know I will ask or will be brought up in a conversation first and I've noted which of their answers were great answers and I tell them I will call on them to answer that question and to be ready to create a conversation from that answer. Giving them time to prepare helps increase confidence and encourages them to participate more for the conversation. Also, each time they speak, they see me note down a mark and that is their participation grade.

        • Apr 18, 2016 12:06pm

          A few other ideas:

          - I've had a "passing notes" discussion with the class. I prep a few short questions on multiple pieces of paper, all different colors. Then I pass out the papers, one to each student, and ask the students to write 1-2 sentences to answer the questions. After a few minutes, the students pass the paper to someone else - someone near by in their team, someone to the right or left of them, they have to get up and give it to someone in another area of the room, whatever. Then, they read the question on the new paper, read the other student's response, and then respond to it - a good time to introduce sentence starters like "I agree with you, but I'd add.." or "I disagree because..." or whatever. We pass the papers several times, and then I stop the passing and ask someone to read aloud the "conversation" on their papers. Sometimes, at this point, students will respond based on other ideas they think themselves, other ideas that are on the papers in front of them, or other ideas they wrote on papers during the passing part.

          - It's tantamount to make sure that students feel safe and comfortable sharing. Talking in class is a risk, especially as kids get older and peers make fun. Making sure you stay positive in your comments to students and encourage risks and mistakes is huge. If you have the opportunity, consider making more time for ice breakers (not just for the first week of school!) and community-building circles, which is the basis of restorative justice.

          • Nov 12, 2016 10:07am

            I've been really thinking this year about the balance between speaking and listening. I showed students that standards and emphasized that there is EQUALITY between speaking and listening. I have noticed that my kids who do not typically go into the fishbowl or feel comfortable speaking (YET), are listening with more vigor! When we reflect, I include listening skills as much as speaking skills. This allows many students to feel successful during the discussion because they were able to listen and distinguish a claim or pull out important information that would help them in their reading or writing. This has provided a huge opening in my classroom this year!