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em Métodos Grupais
I: General principles for leading good discussions:
First general principle:
Use discussion for an intended purpose - not simply because there is something inherently beneficial about hearing students' voices
Second general principle:
The advantages of discussion must be weighed against what can be accomplished, given a number of realistic constraints
Rules to remember:
Most of us try to have discussion fill too much time. It may be most effective to have only 10-15 minutes, unless students are really skilled at expressing themselves.
Participation should be voluntary, not done for "credit," too hard to evaluate
Teachers must participate too - Let's see what we can discover, What are we to make of this?
Lowman believes that if teachers intend to use discussion as an integral part of the class, they should devote the first two classes to discussion in order to condition students early to respond when asked.
II. Responses to Faculty Questions about Leading Discussions
1. How do I get students to speak up?
Students need to be "emotionally" involved. To begin, they must have a common experience -via demonstration, case study, news clipping, provocative film, or intriguing reading assignment- or common personal experience.
Whatever method is used to provoke emotions, remember that emotions are fleeting, discussion must follow immediately. However, purely emotional issues have little educational value in themselves. They must be used to aid learning by enhancing students' involvement in subsequent discussion and making what is said more salient.
One method for engaging students emotionally is to ask them to argue for the position they do n endorse. That is, against their own beliefs.
Discussion need not always be a major production. Once students have become accustomed to frequent discussion, an engaging lecture will suffice to create the necessary emotional involvement.
Having students write down their reactions to the "discussion question" helps to initiate the process. "Pairing" also helps students to speak in front of the whole class. That is, ask them to work in pairs to answer a discussion question. They will feel more confident in sharing their answer if they have collaborated with another student.
2. How do I get the whole class to participate, not just a few?
Scan the classroom frequently to be sure you notice students who wish to speak. Some raise hands very tentatively. As a result, recognize those students who talk infrequently before those who always speak up.
Every student should be reinforced or treated positively for making a comment in class--even if the comment seems dead wrong. Look for, and emphasize, the parts that were insightful or creative even if you have to be "creative" to find something positive. A good response is, "Thanks for taking a stab at it."
Concentrate on "building" on student comments.
Ask students to write a response to your question on a piece of paper; then have them pass that response to a neighbor. Without looking, the neighbor is asked to pass the response to another student, that student passes it one more time. By this time, the response is totally anonymous so the originator is not threatened. Now, ask the class to share some good answers. They are more likely to share someone else's response, especially if the issue is controversial, sensitive, or requires creativity.
Remember that students who are silent are not necessarily uninvolved; one of the beauties of engaging in discussion is that the "observers" can be as involved and intellectually active as the "participants."
3. How do I "toggle" between lecturing and leading discussions?
Let students know when you have "shifted gears" to another discussion topic or back to lecturing by using a forceful voice and strong bodily movements. That is, the same kind of voice and gestures you normally use to begin a class or when lecturing.
In the middle of the lecture, ask students to guess what happens next, or ask "what might be the next point in the argument?"
When referring to a key figure, ask students to imagine this person's rationale for some of his/her actions, e.g., "What was he thinking?" "Why did she do it that way?"
4. What is the proper way to word discussion questions?
If students must work to decipher your question, they are less likely to respond to it. There is generally an inverse relationship between the number of words in an instructor's probe and the length of subsequent student comments. Asking a second or third question, or rewording before the first question has been answered is not likely to elicit productive discussion. Discussion questions should be easily understood by students, put forth decisively, and followed by silence.
Good questions to ask:
"Are you in favor of ______? Then how did you arrive at your position?"
To stimulate objective thinking rather than personal identification
What are some problems with that line of reasoning?
If we assume that the author had these two purposes, how else might she have brought the plot to resolution?
Diagnostic thinking - asking students to draw conclusions from a data set
Independent thinking - challenging students about why they concluded what they did
"As if" thinking - asking students to make predictions about future events or data
Problem-solving - asking students to propose solutions to the problems under study
5. What is the proper way to set up a discussion?
The following method for training a class to respond to well-phrased questions has been successful for a large number of college teachers:
Begin by stating your question in a relaxed and confident manner. When you finish, start counting silently to yourself: "one thousand and one, one thousand and two," and so on until you get to "one thousand and ten." Ten seconds is not a long period of silence, though it will seem like an eternity unless you mark its passage. Scan the room slowly, remaining calm and relaxed, as you count. If students are in an aroused state or you have just used the pairing technique, you will not have to wait long for the first response, but you can expect to get all the way to ten several times during a term, especially during the first few classes when your control over the class is not yet well-established.
If it seems that no response is going to come before you get to ten, begin moving slowly toward a table, chair, or wall. When you finish your count, remain calm and repeat the question in a shorter and slightly modified form--a "reprobe." If you wish, you may reduce even further the students' fear of giving a wrong answer, e.g., "Give any associations at all". As you finish the reprobe, calmly, patiently, and slowly lean or prop yourself against whatever solid object you have maneuvered near and begin your silent count once again. You can be confident that your nonverbal message--"See how comfortable I've made myself; I can wait here all day!"--will prompt students to respond. Teachers using this two-probe technique almost always see students respond before they pass "five" on their second count. Once the class has become conditioned to discuss when you ask for it, you will rarely need to use this maneuver again. However, remember that the original question must be well-phrased.
6. How can I keep the discussion "on task"?
It helps to jot down comments on the board as they are offered. Organize student comments into a mosaic of related ideas; into themes meaningful to the group as a whole. Indicate later how the different ideas illustrate the overall dimensions of the topic.
Lowman believes that the single most useful technique for controlling student discussion is the age-old practice of having students raise their hands to speak. This method lets you decide who will talk and makes it less likely that only the loudest and most assertive students will get the floor.
Controlling an overly talkative student:
Avoid looking in his/her direction when asking a question
Turn your back slightly
Scan others' faces, and wait for another student to respond.
Do not always overlook this student, sometimes call on him/her immediately. Calling on the student immediately usually gives the student the understanding of when it is appropriate to speak.
Slowly walk away from the student when he or she is talking. However, do not turn your back entirely on the student. Look around the room at the whole class as the student is speaking.
7. How can I avoid appearing to "put down" students when I am trying to challenge them?
Watch nonverbals - Merely looking away when the student is speaking or sighing slightly afterward gives the same message as if you had scowled or thrown up your hands. Establish and maintain eye contact, making positive nonverbal responses, nodding head, smiling, anything to show interest.
Students learn most from struggling with a problem or issue, so you should not propose a solution too quickly even if directly asked. It is much more productive to shape the students' ideas and withhold personal comments until the end, if not completely.
8. What is the proper way to end the discussion?
Give students warning that the discussion is about to end, e.g., "Are there any other comments before we tie these ideas together?"
Always end the discussion with a summary.