How to get students to participate in discussion


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The reading has been assigned. You have prepared the questions, in advance. As you ask them, you are met by blank stares. This week on Teaching in Higher Ed: How to get students to participate in discussion with Dr. Stephen Brookfield.

Podcast notes

My guest this week is Dr. Stephen Brookfield. His career has spanned decades, with a focus on helping those of us in higher ed more effective at facilitating learning.

Guest information

Dr. Stephen Brookfield

His band: The 99ers

Playing music… brings a completely different part of your being into existence. I love that I have this very visceral and emotional side, right front and center in my life, which is a nice contrast to the cognitive element of thinking about teaching.

His bio

Teaching as a Way of Teaching: Tools and Techniques for Democratic Classrooms, by Dr. Stephen Brookfield

Definition of terms


It isn't people talking. You can actually have silent techniques, like when you use the chalk talk technique.

When a majority of learners are involved in exploring some topic that is of mutual concern to them. In exploring that topic, they're trying to gauge its multiple shades… by taking into account other people's views on it…

Teaching with discussion

Creating the conditions under which that kind of “to and fro”ing can take place.

Assessing discussion

Class participation grading rubric

Techniques for engaging with discussion

Allows for thinking time

Structured silence


Susan Cain's Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Won't Stop Talking

50 Great Ways to Get People Talking (coming in 2015)

Actualizing democracy

Critical incident questionnaire (been using it for 22 years now: out of thousands of responses – “We really appreciate when you tell us why we're doing what we're doing.”)

The Skillful Teacher: On Technique, Trust, and Responsiveness in the Classroom

Modeling discussion when teaching


Google voice + hangouts (Bonni)

“Try to find some way of researching how your students are experiencing your teaching.” (Stephen)

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