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Discusssion, Group, and Writing To Learn (WTL) Questions

A common and effective pedagogical technique is to begin class with a question about the homework reading. These introductory questions, called Writing to Learn Questions (WTL), promote student thought and reflection on the issue or topic. After thinking and writing for a few minutes, students often gather in pairs or small groups and share their thoughts with each other. Then the instructor brings everyone together for a class-wide discussion on the question. This strategy, sometimes referred to as Write-Pair-Share, allows students to find balance between their own opinions while also receiving individual feedback and gaining the confidence to discuss her/his answer with the rest of the class. Some instructors may only be looking for examples for peer or small group work. Here are some examples of these types of questions. For other ideas, see "Response Papers and Discussion Forums" which share many qualities with these examples.