ERIC Number: ED471394
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2002-Nov-24
Let's Get Started: Strategies for Initiating Authentic Discussion.
Johannessen, Larry R.
One key issue at the heart of conducting classroom discussions is why teachers are attempting to initiate a discussion and what they can do to initiate effective classroom discussions. This paper considers this issue. The paper first considers two classroom discussions which revolve around a short story, "Only Clowns Passing Through" (Jeanne A. Taylor) which could be used to challenge students to think about parents and their children who are struggling with different ethical choices. It finds that the first discussion is dominated by the teacher and the students appear to be confused by the teacher's questions, but in the second discussion the same teacher assigned students to work in small groups to characterize the protagonist's values, and this made for a more effective discussion. The paper next suggests six strategies for initiating authentic discussion: (1) create controversy through activities that involve challenging questions or problems; (2) pose questions or problems that do not have easy answers or solutions; (3) connect the questions or problems to students' lives; (4) connect students' knowledge to the literature they study; (5) the teacher should strive to make sure that the questions asked or problems posed require critical thinking on the part of students; and (6) the teacher should give students adequate time to respond to complex questions. It explains what is meant by each of these strategies, and then uses two activities to illustrate what these strategies look like in the classroom. Activity sheets are appended. (Contains 17 references.) (NKA)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the National Council of Teachers of English (92nd, November 21-24, 2002, Atlanta, GA).