Group discussion is a type of interactive activity, which allows people to participate in groups, share their thoughts, views on a particular topic to make conclusions, and final decisions. Many companies and professionals now conduct group discussions as a part of the recruitment process to check how well a person speaks, presents, gives and takes, collaborates, and concludes. One can not become efficient in group discussions overnight and hence it should be included in classrooms for proper growth and development of students.
Gone are the times, when education in a class was limited to teachers speaking and students simply listening. To involve students in better learning, to review and improve their knowledge, group discussions in classes are of great help. Let us discuss its benefits and how teachers can encourage students for the same.
Benefits of group discussions
1. Broadens knowledge
In group discussions, students come up in groups to collaborate and share their ideas and thoughts on a particular topic. Now every student is different from one another. All have different ways of thinking and analyzing a situation or a topic. When a GD is organized in class, students tend to hear different views and perspectives. This broadens the knowledge of the learners and helps them to think about a situation with different styles.
2. Better speaking and listening skills
Sometimes when only teachers are lecturing, students don’t get an opportunity to speak much. Also, this monotonous practice makes them get distracted and less attentive in classes too. But with the help of a group discussion, students’ overall communication skills are improved. They share their ideas better and listen to each other more effectively to further add points, contradict, agree, and more. This way speaking and listening skills of the students are improved.
3. Help teachers to review students’ understanding.
Group discussion topics can be related to general awareness or major issues happening in society. But along with this, the GD topics can be anything from the texts and lessons being taught to the students from the curriculum. By giving such syllabus-based topics, teachers can review how well students are understanding and what more needs to be done to improve them in academics.
4. Make students interested in classes
The classes where a teacher lectures, reads, and explains the textbooks and students simply listen, becomes quite boring. This boredom makes students less interested in the classes. But when teachers introduce group discussions in the classes, students get to speak up, collaborate and interact with their peers. This makes all students more interested and engaged in the classes.
Group discussion topics for middle school students
- Afforestation and its benefits
- Be an early bird or a night owl for better studying
- Extracurricular activities and benefits.
- Waste management
- Benefits of computers to students.
Group discussion topics for higher learning students
- Global warming and its impacts on the environment.
- Online teaching notes g, why the future of education.
- Coronavirus impacts the emotional and social development of students.
- Social media – a boon or curse
- Importance of time management.
- Take on open book exams.
All these ideas and topics can be used by the teachers for group discussion in classes. Choose the topic as per the learning and age group of the students. Along with these, teachers can choose any general topic from the syllabus being taught to the students.
How to encourage students in the group discussions: tips for teachers
- Don’t choose group discussion topics that are very complex. If topics are complex, students won’t be able to think of the content and points to share. Teachers can select the topics which students are learning in their curriculum too. This will serve both purposes.
- In the case of online teaching too, GD can be organized for students. Using ERP, manage to conduct such discussions over live classes and video conferencing with the students.
- You can also give students topics in advance and some time for preparation. For example, if you want to have a group discussion tomorrow, give students the topics today. This way they can research, make on the pointers they have to discuss, and later participate actively.
- Set rewards for your students. This will surely encourage them to participate. Ask them to participate in the group discussions and all the participants will be rewarded with participation certificates and some small prizes too.
To avoid only teacher-centric classes and make students indulge in effective learning too, group discussions in the classroom will be of great help. There are several benefits of GD that not only help students in academics but also contribute to their personality traits and professional development. By following the above-mentioned tips, teachers can encourage students to participate in group discussions effectively.