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Discussion Model

This model involves students sharing ideas about a common topic.

Theory and
model is
Theory: The Discussion

grounded in social cognitive theory

because its entire basis is that people
learn through discussion with others.
Identify Topics: The topic needs to be
something controversial a nd thought
provoking that a llows for differences in
Specify L earning Objectives:
-The students will gather a deeper and
more critical understanding o f the topic
than they would have if they had j ust
read a bout it.
-Students critical thinking skills will
improve through explanation and
evidence of their various interpretations
of the text.
-Students will experience a growth in
their social development (listening
attentively, basically a ppropriate social
discussion decorum)
Developing Student Knowledge:
Students m ust have a n extensive prior
knowledge base and understanding of
the discussion topic, otherwise the
discussion will fail and c lass time will be
Establishing Structure: Your instructions
must be a s specific a s possible. Set a clear
task that m ust be completed before step
2, steps 2-however many activities you
need done m ust be completed before the
group comes together for whole class
discussion; the discussion/preceding the
discussion M UST be structured

So What??


Introduction: Focus the students
attention on yourself, provide the topic o f
the discussion, activate background
Exploration: In this phase the goal is for
students to look a t other perspectives in
the discussion, which promotes student
involvement and a deeper understanding
of the topic, a s well as critical thinking
skills gained through thinking a bout o ther
perspectives a nd social development
gained through interacting with each
-problems likely to encounter: not
enough prior k nowledge, outspoken
students may dominate the conversation,
intimidating those students who are shier
than the rest of the c lass, a nd you MUST
have clear a nd specific instructions for
the students to follow
Closure: There will not be a defined
correct conclusion a t the end of the
discussion, but you m ust summarize,
either yourself or a sk a student to
summarize, the days discussion a nd why
the discussion mattered a s well as let the
students know that it will continue to
matter in later lessons. Make sure points
of agreement a nd disagreement are
highlighted in the closure.

Is about

Assessment and
Content and Critical Thinking:
Assessment of the content can
occur traditionally through an
essay, and analysis o f the writing
of claims in the essay will
provide assessment o f the
students critical thinking as well.
Social Development: Monitor
measurable behaviors to
monitor social development, i.e.
Did all students participate
approximately equally? Did
students make supportive
statements to each o ther? Did
students support their assertions
with evidence? Keep personal
notes and checklists to record
this information/progress.
Motivation: The students get to
express all of their thoughts on
the topic and can steer the
conversation where they want it
to go, as long as its productive.
The control and interaction with
others that the students have in
this model is great motivation to

Riley Jennings
EDC 311

Development of Social Skills in
tech-m ediated communication:
Keep communication positive and
supportive, short and to the point,
and with correct grammar and
punctuation. Remind students
that cyber-bullying is
unacceptable and cowardly.
Different Ages: Teachers o f
younger students will focus on
sharing and taking turns (social
development), straightforward
tasks with clear instructions,

This model allows the teacher to hear even the most unique of answers/perspectives on topics
because this model encourages divergent thinking and teaches students to respect one anothers
varying perspectives.