Consider this Scenario:
You purchased a discussion guide you thought would be good for your class. You know another group leader who used it and said it was one of the best small group studies they ever did. Your group, however, just sat there staring at you offering little interaction. What they did share was short and shallow. You finished the sessions early. What went wrong?
Why Small Group Discussions Flop & What to Do
In the case of the above scenario the discussion might have flopped for several reasons. What to do depends on the cause.
1) Perhaps the subject matter of the discussion wasn’t as relevant to your students as it was to the other group or your class lacked sufficient background knowledge to discuss the questions.
What to Do: Build relationships with your students so you get to know them better — their needs, interests, abilities, level of spiritual maturity, etc. Then you will be more likely to choose content that relates to them or tweak it so it does.
2) Perhaps the group dynamic of your class differed from the other class.
What to Do: Understand the effects of different factors on group dynamic and how to compensate.
- Group Dynamic: Affected by Who Is There
- Group Dynamic: Affected by Various Personalities
- Group Dynamic: Affected by Various Learning Styles
3) Perhaps you, the teacher, relied solely on the questions in the study, which didn’t connect with your students.
What to Do: Learn to use guiding questions that help students think it through better. The next post will provide an acrostic of the kinds of questions that will help students be CLEAR and keep the discussion moving. Be sure to check back for that post. Better yet, subscribe to receive e-mail notice of new posts.