Theme: Group discussion as a teaching strategy
General education classroom has group work and class discussion as teaching strategies. The teacher and the students agree on a specific topic before it is assigned to a particular group of students. Students in their groups, might assign themselves roles that suit them. For example; note taking, and other functions relating to the assignment given. A group discussion expects that the members of a group equally contribute towards the assigned task. This method, however, might be challenging for some student’s, example are students who have ASD. These students have a problem socializing, therefore, to them, group work can be confusing unless specific roles are assigned (Green 2017, p. 45).
A group of students from the different cultural background can also suffer unproductive fate. It is from such issues that an interview was developed to determine how students feel about group discussions and whether group discussion, as a learning strategy, leads to its productive abilities (Cohen and Lotan 2014, p. 34). The students chosen for the interview were from different racial background to help understand the diversity of opinions on this issue. It was also meant to determine whether the presence of the teacher’s assistance helps the student in any way during the discussion (Metzler 2017, p. 27).
Overview of the Reflection
This reflection is, therefore, an overview of essential matters noted in the interviews conducted with the students, their views about the school environment and how it affects their group discussion in classes. It further goes on to find an overview of how the school community that contributes to the different races in the classroom in a way, affects group discussion conducted in class (Muijs and Reynolds 2017, p. 65).
The reflection further determines the role that the students would like their teachers to play in classroom discussions. The roles include assessment and guidance.
Group discussion enhances natural learning. For language lessons involving grammar and speaking skills, it is best that the teacher in charge, use group discussion (Mertens 2014, p. 47). The learners can overcome their fears and open up during conversations than during tutor lecture. They are also able to express their views freely in an informal language making the other members of the group understand each other better than a teacher would have. However, a teacher’s guidance is needed so that the group maintains focus during the discussion (Fraser 2015, p. 161).
Interview guide in relation to theme
From the interview carried out, it is evident that group discussions play the role that it is supposed to represent according to many students. Eight out of ten students interviewed confessed that they gain a lot during classroom discussions compared to classrooms lectures.
Exploring theme from the interviews carried out
According to students, group discussions provides a platform for free interaction with other students. It is also where most of the students build their confidence (Brookfield 2015, p. 38). In one of the interviews where a student was asked how group discussion has helped her, she replied in a very encouraging manner. She noted that she developed her literacy poetry skills from group discussions. Each time she would narrate to her group members a poem and ask them to give afterthoughts. They encouraged her, and now she can flawlessly perform and narrate a poem on stage to a much bigger audience.
Student name: Mary Dansville, a student performing in literature and arts.
Secondary school: Brighton Secondary School
Interview question: Has classroom group discussion helped you in any way?
Answer: “Classroom discussion has helped me gain narration and performance skills in poetry. I use to perform my poems to my fellow group members before I would perform on stage. Performing to my group members helped me gain confidence since they would comment on my performance skills as a way of sharpening them. I am a good poet just because of group discussion.”
In other interview instance, some students noted in their interviews that it was a platform for demystifying all the stereotypes that the community had made them develop about other races (Gibbs and Jenkins 2014, p. 75). One student noted that attending a group discussion made him understand that the black race in their class was not aggressive after all like the society and his family background had made him know. He confessed that the black guy called, Jim that he met in the class discussion seemed nice. After sometimes they became best friends up to the moment of the interview.
Back Ground Information:
Students name: Daniel Garry, a student of the white race. Was interviewed after having been identified to interact with students of white race without fear.
Secondary school: Melbourne High School
Interview question: Is there any way that group discussion has changed your life?
Answer: “It is from group discussion that I have gotten myself, a best friend. From the stories that my parents told me, I used to know that people of black race were aggressive. I met Jim during a group discussion and, noticed he was a nice guy than what my parents said. I have since developed a strong bond with Jim. It all started from a classroom group discussion.”
However, there were instances of group discussion negativity that were noted during the interview. In one of the interviews with a slow learner, he confessed to hate and fear group discussions. He said that each time, there was a group discussion, the other members would rush through with the discussion to beat the deadline set by the teacher. He, therefore, was left only to gather a few bits of knowledge. During their group presentation, he would become a laughing stock, when a question is shot to him.
Ways of Relating Interview to Education Policy and Teaching Practices
From the interviews that were noted, there are specific implications that come with the same. Group discussion, as a teaching strategy, has demerits and merits. The method is perfect for grammar classes and as noted for literature classes. Classroom teachers should, therefore, feel encouraged to use it for any other art classes (Cohen and Lotan 2014, p. 36).
Group discussion should be encouraged among students of different cultural backgrounds than of the same background. This policy helps demystify the beliefs about stereotypes at a young age, so we do not have to deal with them when the students are grown-ups (Hanko 2016, p. 64).
The teacher is also obligated to find a good environment for group discussions. A calm environment that encourages interaction is essential. The teacher should give instructions of how the discussion will take place. Each task should be assigned within the capability of the student so that none of them lags behind in grasping the intended concept (Cheon and Reeve 2015, p. 104).
Implications for Policy and Practices
The curriculum developers should, therefore, recommend group discussion as a perfect way of learning grammar and art. It is therefore encouraging for all forms of arts subject that use deductive reasoning to employ group discussions as one of the teaching and learning strategies.
If that is quite impossible, more time should be given to discussions for art classes than the teacher-student classroom interaction method, otherwise referred to as lecture. The interview, therefore, played a helpful role in determining the role of teachers during class group discussions. Each teacher should, therefore, pre-plan for discussions. They should also be around to offer assistance to the learners taking part in the discussion.
Brookfield, S.D., 2015. The skillful teacher: On technique, trust, and responsiveness in the classroom. John Wiley & Sons.
Cheon, S.H. and Reeve, J., 2015. A classroom-based intervention to help teachers decrease students’ amotivation. Contemporary educational psychology, 40, pp.99-111.
Cohen, E.G. and Lotan, R.A., 2014. Designing Groupwork: Strategies for the Heterogeneous Classroom Third Edition. Teachers College Press.
Fraser, B., 2015. Classroom learning environments. In Encyclopedia of Science Education (pp. 154-157). Springer, Dordrecht.
Gibbs, G. and Jenkins, A., 2014. Teaching large classes in higher education: How to maintain quality with reduced resources. Routledge.
Green, L., 2017. Music, informal learning and the school: A new classroom pedagogy. Routledge.
Hanko, G., 2016. Increasing competence through collaborative problem-solving: Using insight into social and emotional factors in children's learning. David Fulton Publishers.
Mertens, D.M., 2014. Research and evaluation in education and psychology: Integrating diversity with quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods. Sage publications.
Metzler, M., 2017. Instructional models in physical education. Routledge.
Muijs, D. and Reynolds, D., 2017. Effective teaching: Evidence and practice. Sage.