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discussion

What are the Advantages of Discussion Method of teaching?

1. Emphasis on Learning instead of Teaching,

Discussion Method emphasises pupil-activity in the form of discussion, rather than simply telling and lecturing by the teacher. Thus, this method is more effective.

2. Participation by Everybody.

In this method, everybody participates in the discussion, and therefore thinks and expresses himself. This is a sure way of learning.

3. Development of Democratic way of Thinking.

Everybody cooperates in the discussion, and the ideas and opinions of everybody are respected. Thus, there is a development of democratic way of thinking and arriving at decision.

4. Training in Reflective Thinking.

Students, during the course of discussion, get training in reflective thinking, which leads to deeper understanding of the historical problem under discussion.

5. Training in Self-expression.

During discussion, everybody is required to express his ideas and opinions in a clear and concise manner. This provides ample opportunities to the students for training in self-expression.

6. Spirit of Tolerance is inculcated.

The students learn to discuss and differ with other members of the group. They learn to tolerate the views of others even if they are unpleasant and contradictory to each others’ views. Thus, respect for the view points of others is developed.

7. Learning is made Interesting.

History is considered to be a dry subject. The learning of history is made interesting through Discussion Method. More effective learning is possible when the students discuss, criticise and share ideas on a particular problem. Active participation by the students in the discussion makes learning full of interest for the students. This also ensures better and effective learning.

Limitations

      1. All types of topics cannot be taught by Discussion Method.

2. This method cannot be used for teaching small children.

3. The students may not follow the rules of discussion.

4. Some students may not take part while others may try to dominate.

5. The teacher may not be able to guide and provide true leadership in the discussion.

In spite of these limitations, Discussion Method is a very useful and effective method for the teaching of History.

DISCUSSION

To keep discussion focused, you might initially pose several key questions. The larger the group, the more likely that some participants will dominate and others remain silent. To ensure that everyone has the opportunity to speak, you may want to divide participants into smaller units. When any discussion concludes, summarize the main points orally and in writing.

1. Small Groups: Size will depend on time and the sensitivity or complexity of the subject. In most cases each group selects a reporter to summarize its discussion.

2. Buzz Groups: Participants discuss in pairs for a limited period. This method is especially effective for articulating ideas in preparation for a general discussion or to give expression to personal response to a film, presentation, or experience. After talking in pairs, couples might be asked to combine in groups of four and compare their opinions.

3. Open Questioning: Facilitators need to develop the skills of keeping the goal of discussion clearly in mind and of asking questions that encourage participation and analysis. Here are some typical forms of open questions:

      • Hypothetical: “What would you do if…?”

• Speculating: “How might we solve this problem?”

• Defining: “Can you say more about how that idea would work?”

• Probing: “Why do you think that?”

• Clarifying/Summarizing: “Am I right to say that you think…?”

4. Rules for Discussion: One way to help create an environment of trust and mutual respect is to have participants develop “Rules for Discussion”:

a) Ask participants to think of some principles for discussion, which they think everyone should follow.

b) Write all of these suggestions where everyone can see them, combining and simplifying where necessary. If not already mentioned, you might want to suggest some of the following principles:

      • Listen to the person who is speaking;

• Only one person speaks at a time;

• Raise your hand to be recognized if you want to say something;

• Don’t interrupt when someone is speaking;

• When you disagree with someone, make sure that you make a difference between criticizing someone’s idea and criticizing the person;

• Don’t laugh when someone is speaking (unless she or he makes a joke!);

• Encourage everyone to participate.

c) Copy the list of rules neatly and hang it where participants can refer, add, or make changes to it as necessary.

5. Talk Around / Go Around: The facilitator sets a topic or asks a question and everyone takes turns responding, usually within a set time. Limit the time consistently. Make clear that anyone who doesn’t wish to speak may pass.

6. Talking Circle / Word Wheels: Participants are divided in two groups, one sitting in a circle facing outward and the other facing inward so that each person faces someone else. These pairs then exchange views on an announced topic. After a set period, the facilitator asks everyone on the inside to move one seat to the right and discuss with the new person sitting opposite. This process continues until each person has changed views with several others.

7. Talking Stick: In this method, derived from Native American tradition, anyone who speaks must be holding a designated object, which could literally be a stick or anything else easily visible and portable. This method builds awareness of sharing the “air time.”

8. Talking Tickets: To provide everyone an equal opportunity to speak, give each participant three “talking tickets,” each representing a certain amount of “air time.” Once someone has used all her or his tickets, that person has no further opportunities to speak.

9. Think-Pair-Share: Participants have time to write or simply think on their own about a critical question; they then link with one other person to discuss and then bring their reflections to the entire group.

10. Write Around: This method is a discussion in written form. Pose a key question and ask everyone to write a response at the top of a page. Each paper is then passed to the person on the right, who reads the first statement and responds to it by writing something below. Repeat the process until three or four people have had a chance to respond. Then pass the papers back to the left so that everyone can see what has been written in this “silent discussion.” Because the facilitator does not see what participants write, this method can enable them to express opinions they might wish to keep from the facilitator.

DISCUSSION METHOD OF TEACHING AND LEARNING.

Exchange of ideas between several people is the best process of learning and teaching from one another.
In the classroom environment ,discussion is the best way of promoting conducive learning and convenient teaching situation. It refers to the method of instruction which give pupils an opportunity to express their views or opinions orally on certain issues. One person speaks at a time,while others are listen. It doesn’t always involve the presentation of new information and concepts. It also invoves sharing of ideas and experiences ,solving problems and promoting tolerance with understanding. Discussion method is suitable in many situations and can be used in many situations of teaching and learning.There are different forms of discussion that can be used in the classroom.

Kochhar(1985)identifies two major types of discussions which are formal and informal.

Informal discussions are governed by pre-determined set of rules and it includes debates,panels,symposia etc.

Whilst formal discussions may involve whole group or small groups of people divided with the intention of discussing themes . These are not governed by pre-determnined set of rules.Lets focus on the informal type of discussions.

In the classroom discussions involve a free verbal interchange of ideas for all pupils as a whole. Here the teacher is the leader who guides the discussion . Through conducting the discussion process,ask questions and decides on who should speak. This method can be suitably used in the first stage of child book child approach.
This is where the teacher asks about the assummed knowledge through reviewing pupils’ experiences .For example Do you have friends? Why do you need friends for? Do you sometimes quarrel with them ? What do you do after have a quarrel with a friend?

Small group discussions is better than a whole class discussion. It encourages more pupils to give their own views through open participation . Pupils are divided into small groups of ,four,five,six ,seven ,eight or nine and given questions or task to discuss and then reportback. Each group should have a group leader who is instructed to control the discussion process and someone who can reportback of what has be discussed.

The group setting arrangements should be in such a way that pupils are relaxed and can hear ,see each otherwell. This type of discussions is more appropriate in the second stage of the child book child approach. Which happens to be evaluation stage where pupils can discuss questions related to the text found in the book.For example in the parable of a prodigal son in the bible pupils can discuss this questions:

      •Why do you think father received his son in a positive way?

 

      •Was that the right thing to do?

 

    •Why do you think in such similar situation?

General guidelines to a good discussion should involve a well planning where the teacher should have a clear understanding of the subject topic , content and objectives of the lesson to be discussed.
The teacher’s way of giving instructions should be clearly and effectively communicated in an atmosphere that is conducive for free discussions. Please don’t ridule or belittle pupils. Rather stimulate their interests by giving positive comments and discourage domination of the discussion by the outspoken members in a group.
A teacher who helped the reserved and shy children is doing good than harm by providing the child with an opportunity to contribute. For example ,”John, what do you think about ? or Helen how do you handle this problem ?”

Stick to the topic and discurage private conversation and should conduct discussions to an end as scheduled.

The major advantages of discussion method are :

      ◦It teaches interpersonal skills such as understanding and communication.

 

      ◦It is child centred through provides an opportunity for pupils to learn from each other,thus encouraging teamwork.

 

      ◦It promotes tolerance and helps pupils to understand that they are many aspects or opinions to any one topic.

 

    ◦It also helps leadership ,speaking and listening skills.

The demerits of discussion methods includes time consuming ,easily dominated by the outspoken pupils,those perceived to have high sttus. Some pupils may not interested from listening to others and easily get out of hand and lose direction. Moreover some teachers can neglect planning and take advantage of literally this method haphazardly.