SO . . . You're looking for new ideas!?!?

Teaching Techniques: Reflective Discussion Method



Reflective Discussion Method
  1. The teacher creates a structuring device or main question which lends itself to values in some way.
  2. The teacher plans boundary maintainance by speculating upon a series of points the students might bring up during the discussion, and by preparing potential questions around those ideas.
  3. The teacher, through questioning of the students, encourages students to explore all sides of the topic. It may be a topic which allows students to defend their own values; however, they should be monitorred so that the values of other students will not be threatened. In addition, the teacher should refrain from allowing his/her values to dominate the discussion.
  4. The teacher shares the control and direction of the lesson with the students. This fosters student to student interaction.
  5. For the conclusion, the teacher re-asks the main question and lets students respond by summarizing their opinion as an answer to the question. The students then defend their opinion with reasons and information obtained from the discussion, as well as with their prior knowledge of the subject. A teacher summary and reiteration of the lesson's importance finishes the discussion.
Simple Example
  1. Teacher presents the structuring question: Should the United States police other nations because of the powerful status which the U.S. enjoys?
  2. The teacher allows the students to answer the question together. The students are allowed to question one another, ask for clarification and justification as necessary, in order to challenge each other to be precise and accurate with suggestions they introduce.
  3. The teacher's role becomes one of facilitator. He/she asks clarification and justification questions, encourages all to participate, and points out their contradictions in logic as the students interact.
  4. In conclusion, the teacher gets students to respond to the main question, by stating either: "yes, the U.S. should police other nations because . . . " or "no, the U.S. should not police other nations because . . . " A natural progression of their justification statements should be a student-summary of information they obtained from the discussion, and the discussion concludes with a statement of what was learned and why the discussion is useful and important to them.

Return to the Teaching Techniques Page.
Return to Main Page.
Learn more about Michelle Weeks, the author of these pages.