This Guide

Teacher's Role as Facilitator

Focusing Discussions

Thinking on the Spot

Checking for Understanding

Sample Discussion Plan

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Goal Oriented Questions

When planning questions for discussion, see that your questions meet particular goals. If you know what your objectives for a class discussion are, you'll probably guide students toward these objectives. If your questions are less thought out and only aimed at "getting students to talk" then the discussion is likely to feel unfocused. There are times when an unfocused discussion can be useful (i.e. when generating ideas on topics to write about), but if too many discussions are "floating" students will begin to wonder how these discussions connect to their writing. When planning questions for discussion, consider how you'll need to shape your questions to help students meet the goals for writing in each unit. (See the sample at the end of this guide for an example on how to write focused questions to meet particular goals).