Monday, 19 September 2011

Discussion and Follow up in the Mathematics Lesson

Some of the difficulties that teachers have reported at the beginning of using Big Ideas has been what to do after a class has had a discussion, what to do to ensure that a discussion has been a fruitful activity. Whilst believing that the act of taking part and engaging in a discussion in a mathematics lesson is positive and important in itself, I shared their concerns.

For those of you who have been similarly unsure I thought it would be helpful to share some of the ideas that I suggested with you on the blog:

1)Ask the learners to do some writing based upon their experience of the discussion: what have they learnt that they did not know before? What did they think before? What did other people think?

2)  Ask learners to summarise the debate for someone who wasn't there (and then pick and share some of them). Reading which points were important to different learners can highlight a lot for the teacher.

3) Be sure to leave enough time at the end of the lesson for there to be a shift in mode of working, i.e. you might be expecting the learners to go from sitting in a circle discussing as a whole group to sitting and writing reflectively on their own. This require both a physical and mental shift and requires some effort.

4) Be prepared to answer questions about what form the responses should take but give other learners the opportunity to make suggestions as well.

How do you frame discussion in your lessons? What do learners do after discussing? What do you think of these suggestions? Leave a message...

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