I’ve now read *a lot* of peer feedback on discussions, and I want to share some things I’ve learned with the whole group. —and I am aware that the brave souls who’ve already led discussion did NOT have the benefit of this wisdom. I’m sorry for any inequity this may cause! —-
Some things your peers & I think are important:
a. Many, many people have expressed the desire for some sort of outline of the discussion path. That can be a literal outline on the board, but it could also be as simple as saying “today we will talk about x; and to do that, we will explore a, b, and c.” This lets everyone know where the discussion is headed. It can help us relax into the discussion – because our path isn’t a mystery, and it can help us understand the CONTEXT for a given question or activity. (“Oh! She’s asking this because it is part of understanding this other thing.”) That will also help us all answer questions; and may even (I know we’re all pulling for this -) diminish my interruptions of the discussion.
b. Our first leaders established the norm of using the WHOLE CLASS PERIOD. Even though guidelines say you don’t need to – now the expectation is that you will take 50 minutes. That’s ok, but when you are done with the substance of what we need: STOP. I ALWAYS have other things for us to do – have you seen how big the file folder is that I carry every day? I always have stuff. Often good stuff.
c. How will you know when you are done, and so should stop? You should always identify your goal for the discussion; then plan how to get there. Then recognize it when you see it, and tell us you are done.
You are so welcome to come talk over your plan with me, if that is helpful. I really appreciate all the work you all have been doing in creating and participating in discussions.