5 Benefits of Classroom Discussions
After you lecture for several minutes, do you continue teaching or start classroom discussions after each topic? Some instructors have found classroom discussion benefit them and their students. In this week’s post, we’ll discuss the advantages of classroom discussions and see how this could keep your students motivated and engaged in class.
Classroom discussion is a practice in which the instructor and students share views on a specific topic previously lectured. Promoting and facilitating classroom discussions can not only help students learn from one another but also help students understand and retain the lecture better.
Usually, during classroom discussions, the instructor will first lecture for a certain amount of time. After the lecture ends, the instructor asks students questions requiring them to answer with concrete examples and reflect on their understanding of the topic. So why should instructors include classroom discussions during the lecture?
Advantages of Classroom Discussions
Implementing classroom discussions during a class has many benefits. The advantages include:
- Increases students’ interests and engagement – lectures mixed with discussions can help maintain students’ focus. As they discuss their answers, they get different perspectives on the topic. Good questions and answers can get students to think deeply and make connections.
- Provides Instructor with Feedback – as students answer questions, instructors can gauge whether the students understand the materials. If a student answers the question incorrectly, instructors can then help students correct their answers.
- Promotes Preparation – if the instructor regularly engages students in a classroom discussion, then students are more likely to come in prepared in class such as asking questions about assigned readings.
- Develops Students’ Speaking Skills – in many professional settings, speaking in a group is essential. Instructors prepare students to speak confidently in front of their peers. Public speaking is a skill that improves with more practice. So when an instructor promotes classroom discussions, they are preparing their students for real-world settings.
- Controls The Classroom Environment – if a student is not paying attention in class, the instructor can call upon them so he/she can focus in class better. As a result, students are more attentive to what’s happening during the lecture and discussion time.
Impact of COVID-19
It’s difficult to have a collaborative exchange with 200+ students over Zoom. With COVID-19, students have missed the engagement and connections from discussions in the classroom. When entirely online, a sense of community is lost. Further, many courses are pre-recorded making discussions impossible.
That’s not to say that it’s impossible to promote discussion with remote instruction. Instructors can use Zoom pooling to ask students multiple-choice questions, which could drive engagement and provide feedback. Faculty can also encourage online chat and forums after class to promote collaboration.
Overall, classroom discussions can engage, prepare, and motivate students more. Incorporating discourse during lectures are not only helpful for students, but it can also keep class times more interesting for instructors.
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Lea from GradeHub
Lea Ibalio is a senior majoring in business at the University of California, Irvine and this year’s marketing intern at GradeHub.
“The Five Advantages of Teaching with Discussions.” Higher Ed Professor, 16 Feb. 2015, http://higheredprofessor.com/2015/02/16/five-advantages-teaching-discussions/.