Today’s blog post focuses on the use of discussion forms in the classroom and how “open” our classrooms are for our students. I feel confident in admitting that the classes that I teach in high school are not as open as they could be.
Therefore my blog will focus on where my classroom is now, and the available options I could take to move my class to where I want it to be.
Before starting EC&I 834, I never truly considered the openness of my class and how easy it was for students to give answers in a traditional classroom setting. When I taught, I would ask questions for feedback or opinions on the subject matter but I tended to talk to only a select few students all of the time. One way to improve that is explained very well in the following article, which highlights the need to clarify your expectations for participation and to model meaningful expectations yourself.
One possible solution to improving classroom discussions is through the use of discussion boards.
As we move towards a more technological society, students may feel more comfortable commenting in a written forum, rather than speaking in class.
While there is certainly still a need to develop oral language skills, a discussion board allows students in your class to engage in meaningful debate, rather than remaining silent.
Certainly the subject area we teach has a great deal of influence on the amount of openness and discussion forums that we have in class. I am lucky in that I teach both English and Math, so I am able to see both ends of the spectrum.
However, despite the perceived lack of discussion in a math class, I need to work on creating an environment where discussion is more prevalent. As I researched the subject, I came across this article, which gave a number of interesting solutions to adding discussion to math classes.
A final point to mention is the importance of safety in your online forum. Nicole does a great job of highlighting this effort parent/student permission forums.