When teachers rely solely on discussion questions provided in curriculum or study guides, they run the risk of it not connecting with their students and so the group discussion flops. Sometimes simply by knowing your particular students and understanding group dynamic, you can be prepared by making tweaks to the lesson so it fits better.
But there will also be times you aren’t prepared for the silence. Students might need time to think so teachers shouldn’t be afraid of a little silence. But, teachers also need to know when it’s time to jump in to help make the questions clear and keep the discussion moving.
Guiding Questions That Help CLEAR the Way for a Better Group Discussion
Start with the question provided in the curriculum but then take it to the next step if group members do not further the discussion on their own. Ask questions like the following to get them thinking CLEAR-ly about where to go with the discussion.
- Could you explain what you mean by that?
- Could you rephrase what you just said?
- Could you give an example?
- Could you give us an illustration of that?
- What can you add to what has been said?
- Do you have any more thoughts on that?
- What reasoning is behind your answer?
- Do you know of any Scripture to back that up?
- What does somebody else think?