Having group discussions in the classroom is not only beneficial for students’ social skills, but also their educational development and learning too.
The question is though, how can we really use group discussions to improve learning in the classroom?
1. Use It to Enhance Critical Thinking
One way you can use group discussion to improve learning is to ask open-ended questions. Doing this will encourage critical thinking and help students think for themselves. For instance, in a maths lesson, ask your students a question such as “can you think of any other ways Sam could have found this answer?” Get them to write their answers down on a whiteboard and then have a group discussion where your students comment on any other ways put forward.
2. Use It to Help with Understanding
You can also use group discussion to help students to understand a concept. By asking questions such as “what’s a rhyming couplet?”, you can invite the class to come forward with answers and they can help each other understand by discussing it. It might be a good idea to get your students to sit in a circle whilst you sit just outside of it – so they’re encouraged to discuss with each other, rather than you.
3. Use It to Improve Communication Skills
Not only this, group dialogue can also be used to help improve learning as it can encourage students to become more confident at speaking up and asking questions. This will help them improve their learning in the long run because it should make them more confident to ask if they’re stuck and need help.
4. Use It to Improve Interest in Lessons
Another way it improves learning is that group discussion invites students to be the main speakers. Not just the teacher. This helps students as it can maintain their focus and concentration to hear another voice, which holds their attention.
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5. Use It to Provide You with Feedback
When students talk about and explain concepts to each other aloud in a group discussion, it helps you to hear if they’ve learnt a concept and grasped understanding. Perfect feedback on your teaching! This means that, if you see that they don’t understand something clearly, you can help them by stepping in and adding some more context or information.