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Tool: Leading discussions*

This tool can be useful for documenting current practices and selecting target areas for improvement. The focus areas are questioning, wait time, encouragement and paraphrasing.

Provokes thinking and engagement
Uses open-ended questions
Uses higher level questions that require thinking or reasoning
Uses follow-up questions (“Can you tell me more?”)
Monitors number/types of questions asked of various groups (male/female, race, ELL, ability)
Encourages students to ask their own questions
Finds out how many students agree or disagree with a point
Asks students to defend their opinions
When a student doesn’t answer...:
  • Asks a simpler question
  • Asks a yes/no question
  • Offers choices
  • Repeats question
  • Waits longer
  • Provides a cue to keep all participating
Wait time [top]
Waits 3-5 seconds before calling on a student
Waits 10-20 seconds to provide time to respond to higher-order questions
Increases wait time to encourage more thoughtful responses
Increases wait time to encourage participation by more students
Encouragement [top]
Uses positive body language with all students
Offers non-judgmental remarks
Uses same responses for various groups (male/female, race, ELL, ability)
Makes comments that create a safe environment for sharing ideas
Paraphrasing and summarizing [top]
Reflects back and restates what the student says
Shows students the teacher is really listening
Brings out clarity
Resolves conflicts or issues
Pulls information and facts together

Models how to organize and synthesize information

*Adapted from Creative Associates International Inc. (online).Retrieved 3/23/04.

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