Facilitating Dynamic Discussions (or, Active Learning, Acoustic Style)

Presenter: Dr. Roberta Barker, Fountain School of Performing Arts
Thursday, March 28
11:30 AM to 12:30 PM

Encouraging classroom discussion is one of the most commonly used and widely recognized active learning strategies, but also one of the most challenging to execute.

A small or medium-sized group of 15-45 students (such as many of us work with in tutorials and upper-level seminars) may appear to be the perfect seedbed for lively discussions; nevertheless, instructors often face silent students who are reluctant to speak up in class, or find that discussions are dominated by a few voices while others appear hesitant or disengaged.

This workshop will explore strategies instructors can employ in order to facilitate dynamic, satisfying, and productive discussions in small to medium-sized classrooms at both introductory and upper levels. Among other approaches, we will consider: blog posts, prepared questions, quick writes, and other work that can be done before or during class to ensure that students have ideas they feel confident in sharing; use of images, music, video, and live performance to stimulate discussion amongst a range of learners; combinations of small group and full class discussion; and physically active forms of learning such as walks and tours.

Drawing upon lessons from the performing arts, we will also workshop ways in which instructors can shape their own classroom demeanor in order to help to build student engagement and maintain the flow of a rewarding discussion.

Please come ready to talk and listen!

Duration: 1 hour