These questions can help you reflect on your preparation for and facilitation of group discussions.
Preparing for Group Discussions
- Determine learners’ relevant experiences, needs, strengths, and interests?
- Identify learning goals for the group (or identify learning goals with the group)?
- Plan activities for the learners to prepare them for the discussion?
- Read and reflect on the topics planned for the session?
- Find or create appropriate resources?
- Attend any relevant lectures or other sessions that the learners attended prior to the
- discussion (if appropriate)?
- Identify and work on the understanding and skills I have for leading the session?
- Develop a well-structured (yet flexible) plan for the session?
Conducting the Discussion
- Create an inclusive environment in which learners feel they can take risks?
- Do an initial assessment of the learners’ levels of readiness?
- Initiate the discussion with an engaging, relevant topic or challenge?
- Use mainly open-ended questions or comments?
… encourage learners to participate?
… allow sufficient “wait-time” when learners or I ask questions?
… listen actively and non-judgmentally, and encourage learners to do likewise?
… use strategies for involving all the learners, including the quiet ones?
… keep the discussion from being dominated by a subset of learners?
… build what learners say into the discussion?
… make clear that my statements are open to further discussion?
… help learners communicate clearly?
… model being patient and encourage learners to do likewise?
… ask for clarification and encourage learners to do likewise?
… help learners reframe their ideas and comments, when needed?
… help learners focus or expand their ideas, as needed?
- Encourage active listening?
- Foster dialogue amongst the learners and help them to consider multiple points of view?
- Probe the learners’ understandings and foster higher-level thinking and discussion?
- Help the learners digest what they are hearing?
- Monitor and facilitate the flow of the session?
- As needed, help the group reach a satisfactory closure?