Few teachers have not experienced the agony of failing to get students to engage in meaningful discussions or engage actively in their lessons. When there is a topic in which students become interested, the disengaged become alert and then ably move into more profound thoughts and develop ways to support their ideas, thereby generating skills that will help them further in their education. To create such inspiring incidents, teachers must seek new methods to lead students into discussions as pupils will lose interest in formats that becomes stale. There are ways for that students to discuss topics with insight and depth of thought that will stimulate ideas and motivate them to engage in the exchange of ideas.
Here are some of these methods:
Teachers can select a topic that will bring about debates, such as year-round schooling or new measures to make schools safer–topics that interest students. Guiding students to support their opinions with logical reasons and facts will make any discussion productive. Such debates are practical exercises in critical thinking, an important life skill.
Actively engaging students is often the key to worthwhile discussions. Turning the reins over to students and allowing them to demonstrate leadership by asking questions will elicit responses from their peers. Allowing students to take the lead encourages others to speak more freely and generates a desire to probe more deeply into the topic. Creating panels or splitting the class into two sides of an issue is also effective for discussions.
Students’ engagement in a discussion depends upon how invested they are in the topic. Teachers can involve students more by putting the subject into personal terms. For instance, asking students how they would respond if they were in various characters’ situations presented under the topic are suitable methods. Specific questions encourage students’ responses. Here are a couple of examples:
What relevance does this idea have for you?
Are there examples from your life that reflect/illustrate this idea?
When students relate ideas to their lives, they will more easily identify with such literary elements as setting, characterization, and theme. After all, what are such elements as literature and history but recordings of the human experience?