Class 10: How to Lead a Conversation that Builds Student Understanding

Today’s class will be in two parts. One part will be an introduction to the final project. And we will also explore strategies and resources for taking the teacher out of the role of information gatekeeper and encouraging productive student-centered dialogue. 

  1. “Structured Academic Controversy” (SAC) model. Not all issues can be easily debated as pro / con positions. SAC provides students with a framework for addressing complex issues in a productive manner that builds their skills in reading, analyzing, listening, and discussion. It shifts the goal from “winning” the argument to active listening to opposing viewpoints and distilling areas of agreement. We will try Was Abraham Lincoln a racist? 251kb PDF. You might consider using the SAC process with my series “Great Debates in American History
  2. “Fishbowl” – a versatile discussion technique. Here’s a pdf explanation.
  3. “Brainstorm, Group, Label” – Scroll to  #13 in this collection I designed. “Strategies for Struggling Readers” pdf

Looking for more classroom discussion resources?

Assignment 8 | Completed Discussion posts 19A-8

Try a discussion idea with your students this week. Could even be a brief one. [As an alternative, do a post on a discussion strategy you used in the past.] Write a reflective blog post that includes:

  1. A good title and featured image.
  2. The context of the lesson.
  3. The discussion strategy you used.
  4. What you learned from the experience.

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