Getting students to participate in class is a great way to boost collaboration in your classroom. As a matter of fact, students are thinking actively when they discuss their thoughts and ideas with their peers. So we have another interesting topic for today,
How can you engage students in meaningful discussions and encourage them to think more creatively?
As a teacher, you want a student who is curious, who listens and asks questions, and who can converse in class thoroughly. But before you can have your class’ attention to join and cooperate, you need to make sure they learn how to speak and listen.
You know it would not happen that quick. The following will help!
- Train them that everyone has different ideas and opinions.
- Any time they have a relevant idea – share it with the body at once.
- Speak confidently and don’t hesitate to express from the heart.
- Actively and carefully listen when someone is speaking.
- Observe taking turns being the speaker and the listener.
- Talk clearly in a friendly, calm, and loud enough voice.
- Always ask questions when there’s something they don’t understand.
>>> Have you tried the power of a doc cam? High-resolution web cameras will make your discussions more appealing!
How Can You Engage Students in Meaningful Discussions?
Everybody will love these activities — perfect when you notice that students are becoming too quiet, a bit bored, or sleepy.
#1 Encourage Pair Thinking and Sharing
This plan of action is composed of two students who are seated next to each other. Here, students will have to reflect on a topic that you will give at the end of the lesson, discuss it with the partner, and then share it with everybody once the time is up.
Ask the partners to write down one thing they like in the lesson that has been raised and then discuss why they like it. Each of the pairs will prepare to share their thoughts with the class.
Let them discover what is wrong in a lesson or story. Their brains will start to dig deep into what you have talked about, encouraging critical thinking, and then pursue why they say it’s wrong. Here, you will know who is paying attention.
Ask the students to quickly think of a question that they want to ask you, yes you (the teacher). You will be answering the questions each of the pair will throw. You will like it that the entire class will learn from all the questions raised by the pairs. It’s like having a review.
#2 Do Interviews
Since an interview is a structured conversation for the purpose of exchanging information, draft open-ended questions that are brief yet interesting and easy to answer. Students may find this activity quite challenging so simply rephrase the questions slowly to give them time to think.
Go easy on your questions like:
- Say something about yourself.
- What are your hobbies and why do you like them?
- Can you tell us what your favorite food tastes like?
- What do you usually do during the summer vacation?
- If you’re allowed to work in the school for a day, which office would you like to serve?
#3 Question Answer & Expound
The question and answer strategy will get the entire class to a fun exchange of information by presenting the material in the form of questions that must not only be answered but expounded.
Asking questions is a good way to size up your students’ understanding as you keep them talking. It helps them to think out loud through active discussion. Since it improves speaking and listening skills, it helps them feel confident about what they are saying.
#4 Student-Teacher Talk
Talking together involves listening to your students and them listening to you – a strategy that is both fun and encouraging. Merely listening helps you see who in your class can smartly communicate and who needs caddying.
Here you can model how to talk, ask, and discuss a certain viewpoint. Sounds like a simple conversation but meaningful enough to reduce anxiety among your students.
#5 Let Them Play-Act
Another strategy is to read a book or tell a story, and then ask the class to pick characters they like. With the same role and dialogues, let the partners roleplay in front of everybody. The play-acting schemes will help the students to express their imagination.
How to make it more exciting:
Create a real-world environment by preparing stuff that can help make the roleplaying more fun. Hats, umbrellas, big clothing, and toy paraphernalia.
You can also watch images of heroes and world presidents on a projector or document camera. Acting out those personalities is a welcome change from the usual paper and pen approach and might even establish a relevant connection with the digital world.
Use real-life scenarios like pretending to be an employee asking for a raise from the boss. A first date or a couple fighting over a hamburger are scenes that will burst out everyone’s creativity trying to express what they feel. Laughter is on!
#6 Impromptu Panel Discussions
Here, a selected group of students will act as a panel while the rest of the class will serve as the audience. With a leader, the panel discusses handpicked questions and opens the discussion to the audience.
If for instance, the group selects the topic/question Does global warming really exists? Clarification on knotty issues will be facilitated under the discussion. Not only does this develop presentation skills but builds a weighty exchange of ideas and opinions.
#7 A Class Debate
Since there are two groups here, the affirmative and negative, both have to present their cases to the audience (the rest of the class). Both teams discuss their topics and come up with statements that back their position.
Teams discuss their topics and come up with statements expressing their position. The great thing is that students can take sides, ask relevant questions, and join the discussion bracing the opinions they believe in.
Stimulating students’ interest to speak and voice their opinions is one of the most powerful ways to open up a meaningful discussion in the classroom. It drives engagement in learning, listening, and speaking. This is a great way to build students’ dependence, reason, and direction of their learning journey!