Getting Discussion Going in Your Group

by Ron Moore on March 11, 2015

Statistics indicate that the more a person is involved in the lesson and the learning process the more he or she will remember. Research has revealed that after 72 hours a learner will remember a certain percentage of the content of the lesson based on the method used by the teacher. Lecture only – the learner will retain approximately 10%. Visual only (no verbal) – the learner will retain approximately 20%. Audio and Visual together – the learner will retain approximately 60%. This statistic shows the importance of using visuals with any lecture. Visuals can be in the form of something on a screen, a poster, or even a handout. Audio/Visual and learners discuss the content – the learner will retain approximately 80%. We can increase learning by 20% just by getting the learners involved in discussing the lesson. Audio/Visual and the learners discuss the content and then apply it to their lives– learners will retain approximately 90% of the content. A teacher can become much more effective just my using some visuals and getting learners to discuss and apply the content to their lives.

Most teachers have experienced asking a question and everyone in the class just sits in silence. This is awkward and causes the teacher to avoid even trying to ask a question. Most people do not want to raise their hand and provide an answer because they are fearful of giving the wrong answer and looking stupid. The safest thing to do is to keep your hand down and your mouth shut. Other times the teacher will ask a question and the same person immediately answers and dominates the discussion.

How can one have an effective discussion in the group? Try breaking your class into smaller groups of two or three people. Assign a different question to each group. Ask one person in each group to facilitate the discussion. Provide a time limit and then call the groups back together to allow each group to share their answers to the assigned questions. The smaller group is not as intimidating and allows everyone to participate in the discussion. The answers come from a group so no one individual looks stupid. This method takes a little more time but it is well worth it. It is more important for the learner to get something from the lesson than for the teacher to get through the content.

What have you done to facilitate discussion in your group? Leave your comments below.

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