To an observer, effective discussions can look seamless. A question or two seems gets the conversation started, and students take it from there, sharing insightful perspectives, building on each other’s ideas, succinctly articulating the instructor’s key takeaways, all in perfect time. But the “behind-the-scenes” work to frame a discussion -- creating a space where daring, student-centered conversations can flourish; being clear about discussion objectives; asking the right, generative questions -- requires significant up-front planning.
What steps can we take in advance and in the moment to facilitate rich and objective-driven discussions? How can we keep up with a dynamic conversation while guaranteeing our objectives are met? When should discussion call for small groups instead of the whole class? How can students themselves play a role in framing the discussion? In these videos, featured professors discuss their approaches to ensuring they get the most out of discussions and focus them meaningfully.