Activity Type Descriptions

Discussion Questions

Discussion questions are those without short and obviously correct answers. These are designed to encourage students to express and support an opinion. Discussion questions can start out as Think-Pair-Share questions and the sharing can be the start of the discussion.

There are a number of resources that are available to give you hints on leading good discussions. Check the bibliography on this archive for references.

A couple of quick hints. First, wait for answers - studies show that faculty usually wait only 1-2 seconds before giving the answer or offering an elaboration. If you wait at least 5-10 seconds, you will find more students answering and you will get better answers. Also, do not tell students that they are "wrong." Instead, ask them to elaborate on their answer, or tell you "why they think that." Give other students the chance to correct wrong answers by asking "so what you the rest of you think of that" instead of you having to always correct errors. You should also encourage your students to look at each other when replying instead of always looking at you. You can do this by looking at the student who's answer is being discussed instead of looking at the student talking -- the student talking will naturally look where you are and then automatically start talking to the other student since he or she will be also looking at the student talking.

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Last updated August 26, 1997 by Dr. Jeffrey J. McConnell