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Classroom Discussion

What Is It?

  • Actively engaging in rich, structured dialogue to process learning and deepen understanding of topics
  • Challenging students to be productive members of classroom dialogue by fueling thinking with questions, ideas, facts, and analysis
  • Focusing on specific outcomes or learning targets through reflective and analytical dialogue


Facilitate by creating a safe environment, posing questions, preparing students as contributors and listeners, and redirecting the conversation as needed.


Come to discussions prepared to
listen to and responding to other’s ideas in a meaningful way.

How Can I Implement In The Classroom?

Prepare students for discussions and create a safe environment

Provide thinking prompts without a single answer and a common base of information for class discussions

Use a variety of discussion activities to build speaking and listening skills using Missouri Learning Standards

Allow adequate time for whole class, small group, and partner conversations about academic topics and vocabulary 


Classrooms In Action

Socratic Seminar


Socratic Seminar


Why Does It Work?

In Discussion as a Way of Teaching , Brookfield and Preskill make fifteen arguments regarding the ways that participating in discussions helps learning:

  1. It helps students explore a diversity of perspectives.
  2. It increases students' awareness of and tolerance for ambiguity and complexity.
  3. It helps students recognize and investigate their assumptions.
  4. It encourages attentive, respectful listening.
  5. It develops new appreciation for continuing differences.
  6. It increases intellectual agility.
  7. It helps students become connected to a topic.
  8. It shows respect for students' voices and experiences.
  9. It helps students learn the processes and habits of democratic discourse.
  10. It affirms students as co-creators of knowledge.
  11. It develops the capacity for the clear communication of ideas and meaning.
  12. It develops habits of collaborative learning.
  13. It increases breadth and makes students more empathetic.
  14. It helps students develop skills of synthesis and integration.
  15. It leads to transformation.

Digital Tools That Work

Activities That Work