Improving Student Discussions in Graduate and Undergraduate Courses: Transforming the Discussion Leader
- Patricia A. Soranno *a
Student discussions are a common teaching approach in graduate and advanced undergraduate courses because of their benefits to student learning, and to future professional development for natural resources professionals. However, traditional student-led discussions often are ineffective at meeting course and learning objectives and suffer from many common pitfalls, such as dominance by a few vocal students. I present the “student facilitator approach” to student-led discussions that changes the roles of all students in the discussion classroom, particularly the leader, and provides students clear guidelines about preparing for and participating in classroom discussions. A key feature of the approach is the replacement of the student discussion leader (who has control over both discussion content and process) with a student facilitator (who has control over only the discussion process). Using this approach, I found that students responded very positively, that it tended to encourage student participation, and that it created an environment where students took more ownership of the discussion.Please view the pdf by using the Full Text (PDF) link under 'View' to the left.
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