From our class discussion today:
In class discussions, I like it when:
- People bring interesting or different experiences/ listening to other people's point of view or opinion.
- My classmates speak up and talk clearly.
- People are knowledgeable about the topic.
- Everyone is engaged and the discussion 'flows'.
- I feel: sleepy, angry or have other stuff going on in my life that I am thinking about.
- The questions are obvious or the discussion is redundant.
- The topics don't directly relate to me.
- The topic is very controversial; the discussion can get very heated or polarized.
- My classmates or teacher doesn't have an open mind.
- I feel shy, it is difficult for me to speak up.
- My classmates or teacher is a "KIA"(Know-It-All), or they monopolize discussions.
*Developed from the above points.
- Question, Question, Question!
When in doubt, ask a question. This can look like a couple of different things depending on the need:
- Instead of directly responding to someone's comment try asking them 3 questions about it. ( i.e. What experiences have you had that makes you think that way, Do you think that this is applicable to this situation,It sounds like you are saying "x", could you clarify your point for me?)
- Remember: questions open up discussion, definitive statements tend to shut them down.
2. Step Up, Step Back.
Take some time and think about what type of student you tend to be in class discussions. Do you tend to be really engaged, and very talkative? Do you tend to sit-back and listen to others, but not really talk so much? Do you hate class discussions and doodle in your notebook counting the seconds until it ends? Somewhere in-between?
- If you find yourself talking a lot, take a step back. Wait until some of your classmates have responded before you enter into the conversation. Ask more questions than statements, try writing down all of your thoughts and then pick your favorites to bring into the discussion.
- If you find yourself not really talking in class discussions, step up. It can be scary to speak out in class, but as the above discussions shows, your classmates want to hear your opinion and experiences! Again, relying on questions instead of comments may be a more comfortable way to engage in class discussions. Additionally, you could try setting goals for yourself- try talking one more time in class each week.
- Remember: active listening is just as important as active listening skills. How do you show your classmates that you are listening to them? What makes you feel like people are genuinely listening to you? Try to incorporate those into your discussion strategies.
The issues in this class bear directly upon people's lives and therefore we will most likely be talking about our own personal experiences. This can be very scary, and while we may critique certain ideas, or theories in this class we do not want to critique people's experiences. Therefore, please frame your statements in terms of "I". This places your comment within the context of your experience, and limits people from making declarative statements about things which can lead to other students feeling hurt or silenced.
4. One Diva, One Mic.
Pretty self- explanatory but basically- respect your classmates by allowing them to speak without interruption. This also means giving your classmates your full respect and attention while they are speaking.
Are there any others people feel are important to add? Let me know in the comments, I will print out a draft for everyone to sign on Wednesday.