While some of your classroom time as a course instructor may be spent delivering lectures, there are also occasions when you may need to facilitate discussion.

Discussions, at their best, challenge students to develop critical thinking skills: to weigh evidence, test propositions, and reach their own conclusions. While being knowledgeable about the topic under discussion is important for leading meaningful discussions, creating an environment in which students feel comfortable engaging with ideas is even more so.

As you are planning your discussions, decide on the main issues you would like students to consider during that class period, and formulate questions that lead students to engage with those ideas. Three topics is more than enough material for a 50 minute class period.

Rather than trying to script the discussion beforehand, prepare a sheet of questions, relevant quotations, etc. and let the conversation unfold. Vary the modes to keep students engaged. Incorporate debates, student presentations, individual writing, small group discussions, etc.

Further Reading & Resources:

 CU Dialogues, CU Dialogues Program

 Inclusive and Equitable Discussions, Stanford University Teaching Commons