Moving from Periods to Question Marks: Developing Strategies for Facilitating Interactive Classroom Discussion in UK 101 Derek R. Lane, Ph.D. Associate Dean College of Communications & Information Studies May 20, 2008
Do You . . . • Encourage students to question content? • Ask students to give reasons for their answers? • Stress how to think rather than what to think? • Ask students to relate subject matter to personal experiences? • Use higher-order questions rather than only knowledge or comprehension level questions? • Ask students to work together collaboratively?
Workshop Group Formation • Consider your personal experience with teaching in general and with UK 101 in particular • Rank yourself from 1 (relative newbie) to 10 (master teacher) • Arrange yourself in a circle around the room based on your experiences • No one should be standing in front of you or behind you! • Await further instructions
Strategies for Enhancing Student Engagement • Buzz Groups • Think, Pair, Share • SWOT • ORID • Problem Solving / Decision Making • Debriefing
BUZZ GROUPS • BUZZ 66 or BUZZ 54 • # of people - amount of time • Less Intimidating - Achieves Participation • Always Provide a Clear Discussion Objective Identify the single most driving question (or concern) your group has about facilitating interactive discussion with UK 101 students.
THINK (write), PAIR, SHARE • Create a Supportive Context • Assemble groups • Build rapport • Encourage equal participation • Assign specific roles (facilitator, recorder, etc.) • Explain ground rules for participation • Provide a Clear Discussion Objective What are some of the barriers to discussion? Why don’t some students participate?
Barriers to Discussion • Student habits of passivity • Failure to see the value of discussion • Fear of criticism or looking stupid • Push toward agreement for solution before alternative points of view have been considered • Feeling that the task is to find the answer the instructor wants rather than to explore and evaluate possibilities
Two-Column Method • GOAL: Identify specific characteristics of effective and defective discussions • Recall discussions and seminars in which you have participated . . . • List the characteristics of those that were worthwhile • List the characteristics of poor discussions
Characteristics of Effective Discussions • Experiential Learning • We learn best when we are actively involved • Student-Centered • Student experiences are basis for discussion • Focus on Critical Thinking • Not “right answers” but inquiring minds • Use of Questions • Be flexible and adapt to student questions • Questioning strategies are critical • Integrate student responses into discussion • Responses to Questions
Hyman’s (1987) Discussion Types • Explaining • Problem solving • Debriefing • Predicting • Policy deciding
Leading a Discussion • General Strategies • Keep in mind the purpose of the discussion • Plan how you will conduct each discussion session (spontaneous, unpredictable, requires careful planning) • Discuss your expectations at the beginning and reinforce throughout • Avoid questions with short (yes/no) answers
Leading a Discussion • Setting the Context for Discussion • Explain the ground rules for participation • Give pointers about how to participate in a discussion • Help students prepare for discussion • Provide a common context for students • Show a videotape • Refer to a specific quotation • Discuss a research study • Consider UK 101 curriculum and course readings
Leading a Discussion • Starting a Discussion • Refer to any study questions you may have distributed • Ask for student questions • Phrase questions so students feel comfortable responding • Probe students’ understanding • No single correct answer • NOT “What is entropy?” • “What about entropy stands out in your mind?” • “Give an example of entropy.”
Planning Discussions • The Introduction • Create attention • Motivate students to discuss topic/idea • Clarify the purpose of the discussion • Explain importance and relevance of topic • The Body • What questions will be asked to enable students to meet objectives (SWOT or ORID) • Development shared equally • The Conclusion • Summarize major ideas developed in the discussion; tie entire discussion together • What are students supposed to take away • Preview how knowledge learned will relate to topics to be discussed in future classes.
SWOT Analysis • Strengths • Weaknesses • Opportunities • Threats • Assemble teams • Build rapport • Encourage equal participation • Assign specific roles (facilitator, recorder, etc.) • Explain ground rules for participation • Provide a Clear Discussion Objective • Starting discussion with a CONTROVERSY
Terri Schindler-Schiavo Consider the ethical implications of wihdrawing the feeding tube that provided the only source of nutrition and hydration. Strengths of Decision? Weaknesses? Opportunities? Threats?
Debriefing/Processing • The Three-Question Model • What?, So what?, Now what? • Descriptive, Interpretive, Application • Five-Stage Model • How do you feel? • What happened? • Do you agree? • Has this ever happened to you? • What if . . .? • The ICA Focused Conversation Method
Focused Conversation • “Rational discussion is an open, focused, serious, collaborative dialogue of discovery where you speak so that you you can hear. In stating your opinion, you invite others to differ. You listen to their differing views and offer differing views of your own; moreover, you don’t merely exchange views with others, rather, you change your own views. You state your opinions experimentally, for the purpose of testing your thinking and developing your understanding.” Harvard’s Philosophy of Education Research Centre (Howard & Barton; Thinking Together, p.20, italics theirs).
Focused Conversation • Objective - facts and external reality • Reflective - immediate personal reaction (+-) • Interpretive - meaning, values, implications • Decisional - resolution, application • Generate a Rational Objective (practical goal of the conversation) • Clarify a misunderstanding • Solve a specific problem • Generate an Experiential Aim (inner impact) • Establish team commitment and cohesion • Create a positive open climate
Focus the conversation Determine intent Rational objective Experiential aim Ensure a concrete beginning Brainstorm questions to realize RO and EA Select the questions you need Jiggle the question order Rehearse the conversation Prepare opening comments carefully Prepare the closing carefully Reflect on the conversation, the group, yourself ORID
ORID • Objective • Reflective • Interpretive • Decisional • Generate three-four specific questions for each ORID category (ORID MATRIX) • Provide a Clear Discussion Objective How does what we’ve been learning about discussion in today’s workshop apply to how you teach UK 101 students?
ETHICS • After receiving an abnormal ultrasound, a 38 year old female (in the middle of her second trimester) learns after amniocentesis that her child is likely to be born with downs syndrome. What does your group recommend?
Ethical Dilemma Terry is 16 years old. You are close friends with her family and regularly play golf with her mother and father. During a recent appointment she discovers she is pregnant. Do you tell her parents? How important is physician-patient confidentiality?
APPLICATION Questions • How can interactive discussion help you to . . . • Manage challenge behavior? • Encourage student commitment? • Establish instructor credibility?
Problem-Solving • Make Specific Decisions • Same Problem • Specific Choice • Simultaneous Report • Functional Perspective on Group Decision Making • Alligator River Story (if time)
Four Requisite Functions Problem Analysis Ability to Analyze the Problem Goal Setting Ability to Identify Appropriate Criteria for Making a Decision Identification of Alternatives Ability to Develop Alternative Choices from Which to Choose Evaluation of Positive and Negative Consequences Ability to Evaluate the Positive and Negative Aspects of Alternative Choices Prior to Making a Decision** Order is not important but all functions must be performed well!
Alligator River Story • As an individual, you must make a specific decision about the offensiveness of each of the 5 characters • Your group must make a specific decision about whose behavior is MOST offensive and rank order the 5 characters.
Workshop Summary • Strategies for Enhancing Student Engagement and Facilitating Interactive Discussion with UK 101 Students • Buzz Groups • Think Pair Share • Two-Column Method • SWOT • ORID • Interactive Discussions / Modeling
Resources • McKeachie, W. J. (2002). Teaching tips: Strategies, research, and theory for college and university teachers. (pp. 30-51). Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin. • Davis, B. G. (1993). Tools for teaching. (pp.63-91). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. • Eble, K. E. (1988). The craft of teaching: A guide to mastering the professor’s art (2nd ed.). (pp. 83-97). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. • Stanfield, B. (2000). The art of focused conversation: 100 ways to access group wisdom in the workplace. Gabriola Island, Canada: New Society Publishers.
WORKSHOP CHALLENGEEncourage Classroom Questions, and Increase Student Engagement