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Using Discussion in the Learning Process Amy Heck Sheehan, Pharm'D' Associate Professor, Purdue Univ

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Title: Using Discussion in the Learning Process Amy Heck Sheehan, Pharm'D' Associate Professor, Purdue Univ


1
Using Discussion in the Learning Process
Amy Heck Sheehan, Pharm.D. Associate Professor,
Purdue University October 22nd, 2008
2
OBJECTIVES
  • Understand the importance of discussion as a
    learning approach
  • List the strengths and weaknesses of using
    discussion as a teaching method
  • Describe important considerations in preparing
    and conducting small group discussions
  • Evaluate the use of discussion in a small group
    exercise
  • List a variety of methods to employ small group
    discussion within a lecture

3
Why Use Discussion?
  • Concentration during lectures declines after 10
    to 15 minutes
  • Students learn best by doing
  • Makes class more interesting
  • Establishes rapport among students teacher

4
Strengths of Discussion
  • Provides immediate feedback about student
    learning
  • Helps attain higher order cognitive objectives
  • Students actively participate in learning
  • Develops motivation for further learning

5
Weaknesses of Discussion
  • Difficult to get participation
  • Not suited for covering large amounts of
    information
  • More time consuming than lecture
  • Requires more forethought than lecture
  • Instructor has less control

6
When Discussion May Not Work
  • Extremely large class size
  • Highly technical information
  • Large body of information
  • Classroom environment not conducive
  • No rapport between professor and students
  • Students uncomfortable expressing opinions

7
Types of Classroom Discussion
  • QA Session Instructor asks question and the
    students answer
  • Open Discussion Instructor asks question and
    students discuss among themselves
  • Organized Small Groups Students divided into
    groups and each group is given a topic and time
    limit

8
Designing the Activity
  • Use random selection to assign groups
  • Assign 6 to 12 students to each group
  • Change the group composition each time
  • Appropriate accommodations
  • Set ground rules for discussion
  • Define the exact goal and set a time limit

9
Participation
  • Create the expectation of participation
  • Assign group roles (group leader, recorder,
    reporter, etc)
  • Clarify how participation will influence grade
  • Give students discussion topic in advance
  • Give students time to warm up

10
Acting as a Group Facilitator
  • - Be prepared!
  • Allow for pauses and silence (count to 10)
  • Avoid the urge to lecture (count to 10)
  • Keep discussion focused on basic question
  • Involve all students in discussion (call them my
    name)

11
Acting as a Group Facilitator
  • Show enthusiasm
  • Observe group dynamics
  • Keep track of time
  • Test group consensus
  • Provide a summary at the end

12
Questioning Strategies
  • Start with easier factual questions
  • Use open-ended questions
  • Avoid calling on the same person
  • Acknowledge contributions (even
    if it is wrong)
  • Eye contact

13
Questioning Strategies
  • If students dont reply…….
  • Rephrase question
  • Provide an example or scenario, then ask again
  • Ask commitment question
  • Have students write down answer, then share it
  • Ask for clarification request examples
  • Pause and give time for students to reflect

14
Questioning Strategies
  • If there is a discussion monopolizer…….
  • Redirect questioning to another student
  • Assign as a discussion observer
  • Assign as the group reporter or recorder
  • Audiotape the discussion
  • Talk to the individual outside of class

15
Using Discussion in Lecture
  • Thumbs up/Thumbs down
  • Formative Quizzes
  • Think-Pair-Share
  • Turn to your Partner during lecture
  • Buzz Groups
  • Role-Playing to illustrate a concept
  • Pairs Develop an Outline of Lecture

16
References
  • McKeachie WJ. Facilitating discussion posing
    problems, listening, and questioning. In
    McKeachies Teaching Tips Strategies, Research,
    and Theory for College and University Teachers.
    11th Ed. Boston, MA Houghton Mifflin Company
    2001.
  • Developing the Teaching Instinct. The Educational
    Development Unit. Scottish Council for
    Postgraduate Medical Education. Available at
    http//www.nes.scot.nhs.uk/Courses/ti/ti_index.htm
  • Accessed October 22, 2008.
  • Jaques D. Teaching small groups. BMJ
    2003326492-494.
  • Purdue University Center for Instructional
    Excellence. Available at http//www.cie.purdue.ed
    u/ Accessed October 22, 2008.
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