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Workshop Detail

What’s the Secret to Creating Classroom Discussions That Work?

While they are effective pedagogical tools, leading discussions can be frustrating. They can easily go awry, leading to uncomfortable silences, the domination of a couple of speakers, superficial contributions, or off-topic remarks. This workshop reviews research-based principles for guiding classroom discussion and strategies for designing and facilitating classroom discussions that work to create an effective, positive learning experience. You’ll experience a variety of specific strategies first-hand, including those relevant to small classes, large classes, online courses, and a variety of disciplines. Plus, you’ll reflect on how to apply these strategies to your own classes. You’ll also learn what you can do to prevent the “common discussion pitfalls” listed above, along with what to do when they happen. You’ll also learn how to design discussions as a part of your course so they truly help students learn (and so you’ll know that they worked!).

During this workshop, you’ll experience these engaging discussion techniques first-hand. Expect a fast-paced, highly practical day!

By the end of this workshop, participants know or are able to:

  • Review and discuss 12 research-based principles to guide class discussion.
  • Experience a variety of discussion techniques that faculty can use to engage all students.
  • Explore strategies to prevent and respond to common discussion pitfalls.
  • Design discussions that lead to deep, meaningful, and measurable learning.

Activities:

  • Structured small group discussions and activities on 12 research-based principles on class discussion.
  • Discussion “mini-simulations” including framing and debriefing.
  • Designing a “discussion that works” for one of your classes.

About the Facilitator

Dr. Jennifer H. Herman has developed, facilitated, or overseen hundreds of research-based faculty development programs around teaching and scholarship. Jennifer’s presentations, workshops, and research focus on faculty development programs and Center development, course design, teaching strategies, learning theory, teaching for inclusive excellence, student learning outcomes assessment, and online education. Her publications include Creating Engaging Discussions: Strategies for “Avoiding Crickets” in Any Size Class and Online (Stylus, 2018; with L. Nilson). Jennifer teaches courses on teaching, assessment, learning theory, and curriculum development for the Health Professions Education CAGS and doctoral program. Jennifer holds a Ph.D. in Higher Education from the University at Buffalo and a M.A. in International Training and Education from American University.

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