Resources for Educators

Teaching Tip

From the Teacher’s Aide Newsletter

2009 Spring

Encourage Participation in Discussions

  • Create a safe space.
  • Allow time for reflection.
  • Set discussion ground rules complete with consequences for breaking those rules.
  • Inform students that a percentage of their grade is based on their classroom participation.
  • Control discussions so no one student monopolizes the classroom.
  • Verbally reward participation.
  • Ask open-ended questions.
  • Allow time for reflection.
  • Clarify any confusing comments.
  • Call on nonparticipants.
  • Utilize a variety of discussion formats.
  • Be tactful whenever correcting a student.
  • Resist responding to the students’ comments.
  • Avoid repeatedly calling on the same people.
  • Summarize students’ ideas on the board or overhead transparency.
  • Point out the similarities and connections of students’ comments.
  • Make sure the discussion topic is relevant and interesting.
  • Utilize small group discussions as an option or a prelude to a full class discussion.
  • Use eye contact to provide feedback and maintain classroom management.
  • Ask follow-up questions to a student’s question or comment.
  • Whenever a student asks a question, make sure everyone hears it: repeat the question and rephrase it, if necessary.