Discussion Techniques

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Data was examined to determine if class discussions had any impact on student achievement in two social studies class. Students were engaged with five weeks of systematic forms of discussions. Data was collected by using tools such as pre-discussion interviews and post-discussion interviews, rubrics, and a survey. From the evaluation of the data collected in the study in can be concluded that class discussions is a formidable teaching and learning technique that can be used to boost student achievement, engage students into being active participants in their learning, all while allowing them to demonstrate oral speaking skills in a respectful learning environment.


In the early history of education, teachers talked for most of the teaching-learning discourse while students were quiet and completed their assigned tasks. Students were expected to learn by memorizing facts and be able to recite them. Talking by students was not the norm. In fact, students were punished for talking in class, even if the talk was academic. In recent years, speaking and listening based classroom activities have increased in schools. Discussion is the classroom facilitate moving students away from strictly absorbing the material and into becoming meaning makers (Wilhelm, 2014) which aligns with studying social studies.

The breadth of research done were geared toward determining exactly how effective the practice of discussions in class correlates with improved reading, writing, and communication skills (Cite). Discussions during instruction is encouraged in schools because it enriches literacy and writing skills. In addition, improved communication, social skills, and teamwork are also benefits (Green, 2012). Pedagogical strategies today are moving away from asking basic content related questions and asking more open-ended high order questions that pushes for in-depth thinking, the ability to make inferences, connections, and arguments supporting a claim.

Student achievement measures the amount of academic content a student learns in a determined amount of time. Each grade level has learning goals or instructional standards that educators are required to teach. It is sometimes an uphill task for students to share their ideas and thoughts aloud in class. Green, 2012 in her study evaluated the effects of classroom discussions on student performance in a middle school. This research project sought to similarly investigate the impact of discussion techniques on transfer students’ achievement. This study also challenged that disinclination to speak aloud in class and explored the use of discussion techniques and the potential such a discourse have on student achievement.

Notably, students’ ability to talk about a subject content shows coherent understanding of that topic and their ability to engage in discourse with other students all while providing different perspectives and opinions. Classroom discussion will help students when it is time to apply classroom discourse to a connected writing assignment. This study investigates how discussion techniques affects student achievement and what denotes that this technique is improving literacy and overall academic progress.

Discussion as a Premise for Student Achievement

A major reason for the implementation of discussion as a teaching tool is that students’ active participation in the classroom is interrelated with learning (Astin 1985, Johnson and Johnson 1991, Kember and Gow 1994, McKeachie 1990) and critical thinking (Garside 1996, Smith 1977, Weast 1996). Brookfield and Preskill argue that classroom discussion facilitates general educational goals (1999). The research on classroom discussion has indicated that many variables influence student participation. From student gender (Hall and Sandler 1982, Tannen, 1991) to conversational style, Tannen (1991) can potentially influence student engagement in a discussion.

Class size is another variable frequently found to have a significant impact on student participation in discussion. Most studies have found that more interaction occurs in smaller classes (Auster and MacRone 1994, Constantinople, Cornelius and Gray 1988, Cornelius, Gray and Constantinople 1990, Crawford and MacLeod 1990, Fassinger 1995, Howard, Short and Clark 1996, Howard and Henney 1998, Neer and Kircher 1989). However, Crombie, Pyke, Silverthorn, Jones and Piccinin (2003) and Karp and Yoels (1976) failed to find a significant impact of class size.

Other studies have highlighted the facilitator’s traits has affecting students’ participation. Fassinger argued that instructor traits (e.g., gender) have little impact on student participation (1995). Nunn (1996) argued that it is the instructor’s teaching techniques (such as praise, posing questions, asking for elaboration, and using students’ names) that significantly improve levels of discussion. Others cite students’ traits such as confidence, comprehension, interest, preparation and even class traits characterized size, emotional climate, and interaction as important influences on participation.

Aitken and Neer (1992) maintained student trait (motivation or the lack thereof) that best explains the extent of students’ participation in discussions. Despite the mixed findings, the goal of this study is to stimulate students’ learning through discussion in the classroom. Attention ought to be given to the structural conditions that can either encourage or inhibit students’ participation. Thus, parameters, to guard against the class discourse being effective ought to be designed in the lesson such as grading component and students knowing the importance and benefits of discussion as a learning tool (Green, 2012).

The span of research on classroom discussion has sought to provide a rationale for its use and strategies to enhance its success. As cited in Green (2012) discussion is “a diverse body of teaching techniques that emphasize participation, dialogue, and two-way communication” (p. 21) (Ewens, 2000). In response to the changing learning environment, there has been increased interest in research about student talk (Gillies, 2014). Talking by students in the classroom has been demonstrated to be more effective (Crowe & Stanford, 2010). Research has shown that student talk has both academic and social benefits (Bourdage & Rehark, 2009; Boyd, 2015; Piazza, Rao, & Protacio, 2015; Michaels, O’Connor, & Resnick, 2007; Michaels, et al., 2010; Smart & Marshall, 2012).

McElhone (2013) found that student talk enhanced learning and increased student achievement in text comprehension when students received varied and open-ended questions. Gillies (2014) found that these verbal interactions promoted both critical thinking and problem solving. Classrooms that embrace student talk have shown these increases in achievement happen across all backgrounds and abilities (Michaels, et al., 2007, Michaels, et al., 2010).

Discussion help students develop critical understanding, self-awareness, appreciation for diverse perspectives, and the ability to take action (Brookfield & Preskill, 1999). Noteworthy is that using discussion can be challenging, as it is heavily dependent on a pedagogue for effectiveness. Asking questions, presenting problems, clarifying questions and even encouraging the passive students in the classroom to participate are all roles of the teacher in classrooms discussions (Entwistle et al., 1990).

Cite this paper

Discussion Techniques. (2021, Nov 23). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/discussion-techniques/

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