How to Have a Successful Classroom Discussion
Have you ever asked your class a question and thought you heard crickets chirping? It happens. But hopefully we can help make that happen less. Here are some tips that you can use to have a successful classroom discussion and make your class want to listen to you and participate.
1. Ask Open-Ended Questions
Many times people refrain from answering close-ended questions, or questions that have one correct answer, for fear of being wrong. However, open-ended questions allow for more interpretive answers, which lead to more back-and-forth discussion. It also doesn’t hurt to come prepared with “canned” answers that can also be used to further discussion.
2. Project Your Voice
It seems simple, but people are less likely to tune you out if they can actually hear you. Also, projecting your voice exudes confidence which naturally makes people want to listen to you more.
3. Watch Other Presentations
When we watch other people give presentations we tend to notice two important things: what we like and what we dislike. This will help you figure out what you want to include and avoid in your own discussion. Many teachers have the option of sitting in on other classes for ideas, or you can watch presentations such as some of the great ones in TedTalks for inspiration.
Practicing and at least partially memorizing some of what you plan on saying allows you to look up and focus on actually connecting with your class. Looking up, like projecting your voice, shows confidence, and confidence is interesting. Coming in prepared can also help alleviate nerves and makes for a better presentation.
5. Make it Interesting
You know your students. You know what they’re interested in. Find fun ways to incorporate their hobbies and interests into your lessons and you’ll have them hook, line, and sinker!
Do you have any other tips for ways to have a successful classroom discussion? Let us know in the comments below!
Carolina Fransen is the EdTech Apps and Tools Editor at SimpleK12.com. She writes regularly about the use of educational technology in K-12 classrooms. If you have an app, tool, website, or service that you think we should know about, please send your information or tip to firstname.lastname@example.org.