Small group discussion
Why use small group discussion?
- Students enjoy it
- It allows active involvement by everyone
- The shy and less articulate are more able to contribute
- Students learn from each other
- Everyone gets more practice at expressing their ideas
- A two way discussion is almost always more creative than individual thoughts
- Social skills are practiced in a 'safe' environment e.g. tolerance, cooperation
- Discussion is essential to clarify arguments for a topic where there are no 'right answers'
Hints on running small group discussion
- Make sure that the task is clear and has definite product which has to be communicated back.
- Make sure they have enough knowledge and resources to complete the task.
- Don't let it run for too long. Some groups will stray off task.
- Drop in on groups for short periods with support or challenge as appropriate.
- Make sure that seating allows everyone in the group to see each other, best round a table not side by side.
- Do not allow one group to become too noisy. They will attract interest from other groups, who will then lose their own identity.
- Normally groups work best with friends because they trust them but be prepared to break up groups which are not working. Some members will be pleased.
- Allow time for feedback at the end and value the contributions of all groups.