Almost all teachers regularly incorporate whole class discussion into their lessons. Some tips for maximising the learning from these include:
- Ask named students for contributions rather than just relying on hands-up.
- Differentiate your questions so that everyone can be included and the more able get challenged.
- Keep your questions open and encourage extended answers
- Chair the discussion to keep it going “Charlie, if you had to disagree with that what would you say? David, can you explain why that is the case? Ashley, can you give us an alternative opinion or explanation?
- Allow thinking time or pair discussions and students will have more confidence in their contributions.
- Keep the dialogue challenging and give everyone the confidence to have a go even if an answer is “wrong”. Maintain a positive atmosphere and never mock a child’s response.