Free AIOU Solved Assignment Code 696 Spring 2021

Free AIOU Solved Assignment Code 696 Spring 2021

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Course: Teaching Strategies in Science Education (696)
Semester: Spring, 2021
ASSIGNMENT No. 1

Q.1   Elaborate the role of nature of science. Also describe advantages and disadvantages of knowledge of nature of science by giving examples.

It’s important to understand at least two things are essential for effective teaching. The first is knowledge of your subject content and processes; the second is general pedagogical knowledge, which is to say an understanding of teaching.

Knowledge of a subject is what you might get out of a degree in a particular discipline; pedagogical knowledge might come from teacher training in the form of postgraduate qualifications or an education degree.

Anyone familiar with the work of John Hattie – director of the Melbourne Education Research Institute – knows how critical, and quantifiably so, a teacher’s pedagogical knowledge is to student success.

The overlap of subject knowledge and teaching knowledge is where we find what is known as pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) – knowledge unique to, or at least characteristic of, a particular subject area.

Obviously it’s a different thing to teach chemistry than music, history than biology, and indeed physics than mathematics. PCK is something that begins in teacher training and is developed by experience in the classroom and discussion with colleagues.

Knowing which teaching techniques work well within your field, how students work with subject-specific concepts in terms of misconceptions and misunderstandings, and how to link and develop ideas as you guide students through a course of study, are part of what defines excellence in teaching.

But there’s something missing here – and it’s a biggie. What’s particularly disturbing about current science education at the primary, secondary and tertiary level is the almost complete lack of explicit consideration of what I’ve referred to as the “nature of science”.

Not only are many teachers unaware of the nature of science, they would have little idea how to teach it in detail even if their knowledge was developed.

This is a contentious claim, but it is supported by research and certainly matches my experience of teaching science in state and private schools over many years.

Nature of science

I mean something very specific by the term “nature of science”, as the following points will hopefully illustrate:

  • it’s about the philosophical and practical understanding of the processes and reasoning of science, including its nature as a very human endeavour
  • it’s knowing what the difference is between hypotheses, laws and theories(and how most science textbooks get this wrong) and what the characteristics of a good hypothesis are
  • it’s about how the structures and processes of science are the way they are, in large part, to account for our cognitive biases, and that unique subjective experience is not foundational in science as it is in other areas of knowledge
  • it’s about knowing that there is no one scientific method, but that there are many scientific methodologies and that what makes an idea scientific is the goal of maximum explanatory and predictive power combined with exquisite falsifiability
  • it’s understanding that solid scientific ideas have many defined parameters – the more the better – and that this is what separates them from pseudoscience, where goalposts are constantly shifted (ever seen a psychic renege on a promise to read minds because the presence of a sceptic is “disrupting the energy”?)
  • it’s being able to explain the difference between induction and deduction, to characterise and instantiate the types of inferential reasoning that are acceptable in science and what problems and opportunities this presents in public understanding
  • it’s realising that the search for certainty in much of science is a fool’s game, but to ignore levels of confidence makes you a bigger fool.

Thinking critically in science means, in large part, to be able to do such things.

Moving forwards

All the above and much more can be articulated and taught alongside traditional science content but hardly ever is. The pressure of content-driven standards, in which factual content is pegged out to signpost progress and the learning of which is the key indicator of success, is overwhelming and simply crowds out what are seen as less quantifiable aspects of science.

Even experimental work is all too often prescribed via worksheets that lay out methods to follow and hypotheses for testing that leave little room for serious reflection, imagination or understanding.

Some (many) even contain phrases such as “has the hypothesis been proved?”, which shows a miserable understanding of the nature of experimentation.

So discussion in classrooms about the nature of science is scarce because:

1) The nature of science is not well understood by science teachers or even scientists

2) The clear implication that without content knowledge in the nature of science there can be no pedagogical content knowledge

3) Science curricula rarely articulate exactly what skills or knowledge are constituent of an understanding of the nature of science.

The Australian Curriculum has developed what it calls General Capabilities (GCs) in Critical and Creative Thinking, which are quite well presented but in very general terms.

How they link to what is a very ordinary content-based structure is indicated by an icon – and that’s it. There is no detail given and no guidance for developing PCK outlined, and no sense of how these GCs are to be understood or delivered.

Teachers need assistance to ask and answer pointed questions. How do you teach about the nature of science? What are the techniques, strategies, opportunities, unique mental processes to be aware of and best examples to do this within a curriculum that does not acknowledge its importance, as many do not?

This is a difficult challenge, and an important one, as it is very often these themes that students find engaging and which provide a narrative to their experience of science. It is almost farcical that these are seldom explicitly outlined in programs of work.

Knowledge of the nature of science is as least as important in creating scientifically literate citizens as factual content knowledge – perhaps more so.

Few of us can claim a deep knowledge of all the scientific knowledge relevant, indeed critical, to our lives. But at least through knowing something of the nature of science we can appreciate the epistemic credibility of what comes out of scientific inquiry.

The Health of Australian Science report laments that students are bored with, and do not see the relevance of, science. Conversation revolves around availability of teachers and delivery of standard courses, and curriculum design remains driven by factual content.                   

AIOU Solved Assignment Code 696 Spring 2021

Q.2   Discuss the application of cooperative learning model in teaching of science at secondary level.

Education is a process of bringing desirable behavioural changes in the individuals. It helps the individuals to identify their capabilities and potential. Classroom instructions and activities are the gate way of this process. Hence a teacher who deals with any subject should clearly plan his objectives of a particular instruction. Pre determined learning outcome of an instruction can be called as instructional objectives. More clearly, Instructional objectives are the specific or immediate goal which is obtainable as a result of instruction or through classroom interaction. This is considered as the target of a teacher for a specific lesson or a topic. Learning/ teaching outcomes of a classroom is designed by the instructional objectives. Without formulating instructional objectives instruction become aimless or target less as well as wastage of time and effort of both teachers and students. Instructional objectives should be planned to develop different domains of the learner. Discussion on Blooms taxonomy is necessary to understand the different domains of the learner. The word taxonomy derived from the Greek word ‘taxis’ which means systematic classification. Prof.Benjamin S Bloom and his associate, University of Chicago developed and classified the domains of educational objectives. Bloom (1956) presented his taxonomy related to cognitive domain giving emphasis to the hierarchy of cognitive process in attaining knowledge and development of thinking. Later Krathwhol (1964) introduced affective domain and Simpson (1966) developed psychomotor domain. They described the hierarchical development of the three domains of the learner though instruction. This classification objective is known as Blooms taxonomy of educational objectives.

  1. Cognitive domain- Knowledge field
  2. Affective domain- feeling field
  3. Psychomotor domain-doing field

​Every educational activity should be planned to develop all this domain of the learner. Hence these three domains are mutually interrelated and interdependent also. The cognitive domain deals with the intellectual aspect of cognition. It concerned with sensation, perception and application of knowledge. The hierarchical development of cognitive domain is discussed below.

​Knowledge 

Acquisition of knowledge is the lowest level in the cognitive domain. It includes the ability of students to recall and remember the information learned in the classrooms. Recall and recognition are the specification of this instructional objective.

Comprehension 

It is the second level of cognitive domain. It is the meaningful recall and recognition of the learned content. Here the learner could understand and explain what he learned in the classroom as his own language. Identifying relations, classification of objects, explanations, comparisons, translation etc are the specification of this level.

Application 

In third level the learners are able to apply or use the knowledge which is acquired and comprehended during the first two levels. It is the ability to apply the acquired knowledge trough instruction in real life situations. Establishing new relationship, formulating hypothesis, predictions are the some specification of this level.

Analysis 

Analysis is the meaningful breakdown of the materials into its various components and to identify the interrelationship between the elements and find out how they are organized and related. Specification of this level includes the analysis of elements, analysis of relationship, analysis of organizational principles.

Synthesis 

Synthesis is the mental ability of the learner to integrate the acquired, comprehended, applied and analyzed knowledge in to a comprehensive whole. It involves the ability to give a new shape or structure to statements or procedures.

Evaluation

This is the highest level of cognitive domain. Students could evaluate an object, person, a theory or a principle if only he is par with all other lower hierarchy in the cognitive domain. It is the ability to judge a value of a material, aspects, methods, principles , theory, philosophy and so forth for a given purposes. At this level s/he could perform personal viewpoint about the information s/he synthesized. Affective domain is related with the development of heart and mind of the child. It includes the areas of emotions, feelings, interest, attitude, appreciation and values. The teacher should be given emphasis to correlate the development of cognitive domain with affective domain. A person who studied the Gandhian principles, civic right and duties without developing his affective domain is worthless for the country as well as society. Hence the teacher should ensure the development of affective domain in his instructional objectives of the classroom instruction. Bloom and Krathwohl (1964) introduced the following hierarchy for affective domain.

​Receiving

In the basic level the learner is sensitized to the existence of a certain phenomena and stimuli. s/he is willing to receive the information whole heartedly by exhibiting awareness on the stimuli and become conscious on particular person, principle, philosophy, incidents etc. For example students are interestingly listening to Gandhian principles.

Responding 

Effective reception prepares the learner to respond seriously. As result of receiving some good message from the first hierarchy, the learner tries to respond to the situation positively. For example students show kindness towards elders and weaker people, hold honest behaviour in day to day life situations etc.

Valuing 

By responding in good ways, the students set guidelines for their behavior. Accepting values, preference for values, commitment to values are the important behavioural changes in this level. For example students develop positive attitude towards non violent behavior, truthfulness, honesty etc.

Organization 

Student builds a system of value at this level. Value conflict and value crisis are resolved. Through organizing different values students are able to develop their own code of conduct and standard of public life in the society. For example Pupil identifies the inseparability of the values like non violence, truthfulness and tolerance of Indian tradition. They show dislike towards corruption and violence in the country and think against to work.

Characterization 

This is the highest level of internalization process. Values are imbibed and forms part of the life style of the individual. For example the non violence value becomes the philosophy of the individual. They will not be ready to compromise on their philosophy at any stage as well as, ready to work for justice even though they are alone their way.

​Instructional Objective for Psychomotor Domain

Psychomotor domain deals with the action or performance level. This domain includes muscular action and neuromuscular coordination. Educational objectives of this domain aim to developing proficiency in performing certain acts. Simpson (1966) presented the psychomotor domain as follows.

Perception 

Perception is the first level in psychomotor domain. It consist the process of becoming aware of objects, qualities or relation through sense organs.

Set 

In this second hierarchy students make preparatory adjustment of readiness for a particular kind of action or experience. Mental as well as physical set for action is performed here.

Guided response

It is the overt behavioural act of a student under the guidance of the teacher. Students initially perform an act which is perceived and set through earlier levels. It includes imitation of teachers, elders, parents, and trial and error activities in attaining writing, reading skill etc. For example; Student imitates the writing style of his teacher to write letter ‘A’ and repeat many times to learn how to write letter ‘A’.

Mechanism 

In this level student show progress in performing the act through imitation and trial and error. Student learned to write letter ‘A’ by imitating his teacher and through trial and error activity. Now s/he can write letter ‘A’ at his/her will. Here learned response has become habitual. It is a micro analysis in which each step in the mechanism is properly examined and drilled.

Complex Overt Response 

In this level the student can perform a complex motor act which required a complex movement pattern. It this hierarchy students attain a high degree of skill and the act can be carried out smoothly and efficiently. In this level students could perform the act without any hesitation. Fine muscular coordination and great deal of ease in performing act are the peculiarity of this level. Here student able to write many word easily and simply within a short period of time, ability to run, walk, jump and talk easily are also comes under this category.

 Adaptation and Originating 

This is the highest level. Here student are adapted with the ability of doing an act which is acquired through above steps. Now spontaneously s/he can perform the act with accuracy. More over s/he is able to originate a new pattern of action or style in doing the activity.

AIOU Solved Assignment 1 Code 696 Spring 2021

Q.3   Elaborate the significance of affective domain of educational objectives in teaching of science.

Teaching can be, without a doubt, a complicated business. Defining effective teaching is not straightforward and there are many facets to it that combine to make great learning happen.

Content knowledge

This is when teachers have a deep knowledge of the subject that they teach and can communicate content effectively to their students. As well as a strong understanding of the material being taught, teachers must also understand the ways students think about the content, be able to evaluate the thinking behind students’ own methods, and identify students’ common misconceptions. There is strong evidence of the impact this has on student outcomes.

Quality of instruction

There is also strong evidence of the impact the quality of instruction can have on learning. This includes teachers being skilled in effective questioning and use of assessment. Good teachers also deploy techniques such as reviewing previous learning, and giving adequate time for children to practice, meaning skills are embedded securely. When done well, teachers scaffold students learning by progressively introducing new skills and knowledge.

Teaching climate

The quality of the teaching and learning relationships between teachers and students is also very important.
Good teaching creates a climate that is constantly demands more, and pushes students to succeed. A good teaching climate challenges students, develops a sense of competence, attributes success to effort rather than ability, and values resilience to failure. The study found moderate evidence that the teaching climate in the classroom impacts student outcomes.

Classroom management

There is moderate evidence of the impact on students learning of: efficient use of lesson time; co-ordinating classroom resources and space; and managing students’ behaviour with clear rules that are consistently enforced. These factors are perhaps the necessary conditions for good learning, but are not sufficient on their own. A well-ordered classroom with an ineffective lesson will not have a large impact.

Teacher beliefs

There is some evidence to show the reasons why teachers adopt particular practices, and the purposes or goals that they have for their students is also important. For example, research indicates that primary school teachers’ beliefs about the nature of mathematics and their theories about how children learn – and their role in that learning – are more important to student outcomes than the level of mathematics qualification the teacher holds.

Professional behaviours

Developing professional skills and practice, participating in professional development, supporting colleagues and the broader role of liaising and communicating with parents also have a part to play in effective teaching.

There is some evidence to show this has an impact on student outcomes.

The Nature of Science strand is described in the science learning area as the overarching and unifying strand.

The teaching activities in this section provide examples for how we might adapt other activities to meet the aims of the Nature of Science strand.

The Nature of Science strand has four achievement aims which are summarised as:

  • Understanding about science
  • Investigating in science
  • Communicating in science
  • Participating and contributing.

Rather than teaching these separately, most teaching activities are likely to involve students in more than one of these aspects. Thinking about the aims helps us give a focus to our teaching of the Nature of Science. The table below lists one or more Achievement Aim from the Nature of Science as a major focus for the activity.

AIOU Solved Assignment 2 Code 696 Spring 2021

Q.4   Prepare the criteria for writing educational objectives. How the objectives of science subjects are different than social science subjects.

Science teachers should write learning objectives that communicate and describe intended learning outcomes.  Objectives should be stated in terms of what the student will be able to do when the lesson is completed.  Objectives should include verbs such as listed in table 25.1 to define specific, observable, and measurable student behavior.

A learning objective contains

(1) a statement of what students will be able to do when a lesson is completed,

(2) the conditions under which the students will be able to perform the task, and

(3) the criteria for evaluating student performance.

While goals describe global learning outcomes, learning objectives are statements of specific performances that contribute to the attainment of goals.  Learning objectives should help guide curriculum development, instructional strategies, selection of instructional materials, and development of assessments.

Aims
The aims of the teaching and study of sciences are to encourage and enable students to:

  • develop inquiring minds and curiosity about science and the natural world
  • acquire knowledge, conceptual understanding and skills to solve problems and make informed decisions in scientific and other contexts
  • develop skills of scientific inquiry to design and carry out scientific investigations and evaluate scientific evidence to draw conclusions
  • communicate scientific ideas, arguments and practical experiences accurately in a variety of ways
  • think analytically, critically and creatively to solve problems, judge arguments and make decisions in scientific and other contexts
  • appreciate the benefits and limitations of science and its application in technological developments
  • understand the international nature of science and the interdependence of science, technology and society, including the benefits, limitations and implications imposed by social, economic, political, environmental, cultural and ethical factors
  • demonstrate attitudes and develop values of honesty and respect for themselves, others, and their shared environment.

Objectives
The objectives of sciences listed below are final objectives and they describe what students should be able to do by the end of the course.

A One world

This objective refers to enabling students to understand the interdependence between science and society. Students should be aware of the global dimension of science, as a universal activity with consequences for our lives and subject to social, economic, political, environmental, cultural and ethical factors. At the end of the course, and within local and global contexts, students should be able to:

  • describe and discuss ways in which science is applied and used to solve local and global problems
  • describe and evaluate the benefits and limitations of science and scientific applications as well as their effect on life and society
  • discuss how science and technology are interdependent and assist each other in the development of knowledge and technological applications
  • discuss how science and its applications interact with social, economic, political, environmental, cultural and ethical factors.

B Communication in science

This objective refers to enabling students to develop their communication skills in science. Students should be able to understand scientific information, such as data, ideas, arguments and investigations, and communicate it using appropriate scientific language in a variety of communication modes and formats as appropriate. At the end of the course, students should be able to:

  • communicate scientific information using a range of scientific language
  • communicate scientific information using appropriate modes of communication
  • present scientific information in a variety of formats, acknowledging sources as appropriate
  • demonstrate honesty when handling data and information, acknowledging sources as appropriate
  • use where appropriate a range of information and communication technology applications to access, process and communicate scientific information.

C Knowledge and understanding of science

This objective refers to enabling students to understand the main ideas and concepts of science and to apply them to solve problems in familiar and unfamiliar situations. Students are expected to develop critical and reflective thinking and judge the credibility of scientific information when this is presented to them. At the end of the course, students should be able to:

  • recognize and recall scientific information
  • explain and apply scientific information to solve problems in familiar and unfamiliar situations
  • analyse scientific information by identifying components, relationships and patterns, both in experimental data and ideas
  • discuss and evaluate scientific information from different sources (Internet, newspaper articles, television, scientific texts and publications) and assess its credibility.

D Scientific inquiry

This objective refers to enabling students to develop scientific inquiry skills to design and carry out scientific investigations. At the end of the course, students should be able to:

  • define the problem or research question to be tested by a scientific investigation
  • formulate a hypothesis and explain it using logical scientific reasoning
  • design scientific investigations that include variables and controls, material/equipment needed, a method to be followed, data to be collected and suggestions for its analysis
  • evaluate the method, commenting on its reliability and/or validity
  • suggest improvements to the method

E Processing data

This objective refers to enabling students to record, organize and process data. Students should be able to collect and transform data by numerical calculations into diagrammatic form. Students should be able to analyse and interpret data and explain appropriate conclusions. At the end of the course, students should be able to:

  • collect and record data using appropriate units of measurement
  • organize and transform data into numerical and diagrammatic forms, including mathematical calculations and visual representation (tables, graphs and charts)
  • present data in a variety of ways using appropriate communication modes and conventions (units of measurement)
  • analyse and interpret data by identifying trends, patterns and relationships
  • draw conclusions supported by scientific explanations and a reasoned interpretation of the analysis of the data.

F Attitudes in science

This objective goes beyond science and refers to encouraging attitudes and dispositions that will contribute to students’ development as caring and responsible individuals and members of society. This objective is set in the context of the science class but will pervade other subjects and life outside school. It includes notions of safety and responsibility when working in science as well as respect for and collaboration with others and their shared environment. During the course, students should:

  • carry out scientific investigations using materials and techniques safely and skillfully
  • work effectively as members of a team, collaborating, acknowledging and supporting others as well as ensuring a safe working environment
  • show respect for themselves and others, and deal responsibly with the living and non-living environment.

AIOU Solved Assignment Code 696 Autumn 2021

Q.5   Discuss the role of different types of questions in implementation of instructional plan for science teaching.                                                                                                           

One of the most challenging teaching methods, leading discussions can also be one of the most rewarding. Using discussions as a primary teaching method allows you to stimulate critical thinking. As you establish a rapport with your students, you can demonstrate that you appreciate their contributions at the same time that you challenge them to think more deeply and to articulate their ideas more clearly. Frequent questions, whether asked by you or by the students, provide a means of measuring learning and exploring in-depth the key concepts of the course.

Create a comfortable, non-threatening environment. Introduce yourself and explain your interests in the topic on the first day. Encourage questions from the outset. For example, require each student to submit a question about the course during the first day or week. Students can submit these questions via an online discussion forum; this assignment can also serve as a way for you to ensure that they have each figured out how to log on to a discussion forum that you are using throughout the course.

Arrange the chairs in a configuration that will allow students to see and speak with one another. Move the chairs back to their standard configuration after the class session has ended. (In University-managed classrooms, the standard configuration is displayed on a diagram posted near the door.)

Get to know your students and the skills and perspectives they bring to the discussions. Learn your students’ names during the first week of class. Consistently use their names when calling on them and when referring to comments they have made in class or in threaded email discussions. Using their names will convince them that you see them each as individuals with something valuable to add, thus creating an environment of mutual trust and interest. This strategy will also encourage the students to refer to one another by name.

You can start learning your students’ names before the semester begins by using WebFAC to print your roster (with photos). Bring the printed roster to class and use it to take attendance on the first day. After class and before the next one, refresh your memory of names and faces by looking over the roster again.

Understanding your students’ skills and perspectives can help you to develop specific ways of challenging each of them to think critically and express ideas clearly.

Clarify the rules and expectations for discussions at the outset. Define what you think of as a successful discussion (for example, one that includes participation by all group members, stays on topic, and explores issues in depth and from a variety of perspectives.) Make it clear that good discussions rarely happen without effort. Distribute or post on the board a list of rules and expectations that will promote successful discussions. For example, to discourage students from monopolizing the discussion or interrupting one another, indicate whether it will be necessary for students to raise their hands and be called on before speaking; this decision will depend on your preference and on the size of the class.

You might also consider opening the discussion on the first day of class with small-group discussions about effective discussions and how to achieve them. Then, reconvene the class as a whole to formulate together the guidelines for discussion that the class will follow the rest of the semester. Less experienced students will require more guidance with this task. For all groups, however, having the students take a role in formulating the rules will mean that they will be more invested in following them.

Communicate to students the importance of discussion to their success in the course as a whole. If you use discussions on a regular basis, assign grades for student participation. Inform students of the specific criteria that you will use. For example, will you evaluate the frequency and quality of their contributions, as well as how effectively they each respond to others’ comments? Will you include in each participation grade the student’s performance on informal writing, online discussions, minor group projects, or other work? If you grade class participation, give students preliminary grades and brief written evaluations as early as 3-4 weeks into the semester and at midterm so that they will know where they stand. Your written evaluation can be designed to encourage the quiet students to talk more often and the verbose students to hold their comments to give others a chance to participate).

No matter how often you use discussions in your course, you can underscore their importance by ensuring that you discuss material that later appears on exams and by integrating students’ contributions (with attribution) into subsequent lectures, discussions, and assignments.

Plan and prepare the discussion. Develop clear goals and a specific plan for each session. Compose specific questions that will move the discussion forward, illuminate major points, and prompt students to offer evidence for their assertions and to consider other points of view.

Accommodate different learning preferences. Expect that your students will bring into the course different learning preferences. For example, while some may be active learners who prefer to solve problems in order to learn concepts, others are reflective learners who prefer to master concepts through uninterrupted reflection. Recognize your own learning preferences and make efforts to extend your approach beyond those preferences. In other words, do not assume that you can teach something in the same way that you learned it and get the same results with all of your students. You can be most effective if you combine teaching methods to reach as many students as possible: for example, combine verbal and visual explanations, explain concepts using both a “big-picture” and a detail-oriented approach, and give students opportunities for active learning and reflection.

Provide a structure. Write an outline or list of guiding questions on the board before you begin the discussion. Each session should have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Respond to student contributions in ways that move the discussion forward and keep it focused on the topic at hand.

Throughout the Discussion

At appropriate points in the session, summarize the major ideas and write them on the board. If you do not do this, students will have a hard time picking out the most important ideas from the discussion and understanding their significance. Writing on the board is particularly helpful for students who are visual learners.

Combine discussions with other methods. Plan to use brief lectures to introduce complex topics or to clarify the larger concepts that the current set of readings investigates (see Teaching with Lectures). Beginning on the first day, use frequent small-group work: divide the class into groups of 2-4 students, then give each group a focused assignment, with specific objectives and roles that they should each take on in order to complete the assignment. Assign students brief writing assignments, such as writing a set of questions or a brief reflective piece that will serve as the basis for in-class discussions. Consider supplementing class discussions with threaded, online discussions that you monitor. Small-group discussions, writing assignments, and online discussions can be effective methods for encouraging participation by students who are uncomfortable speaking in large groups and for enabling students to learn from one another.

Integrate student responses into the discussion without making the discussion merely a student-teacher interaction. Ask students to respond directly to one another’s ideas. The use of small-group discussions will allow students to become better acquainted and thus facilitate their communication with one another.

Use verbal and non-verbal cues to encourage participation. Especially near the beginning of the semester, call on all students to answer questions, not just those who consistently raise their hands. Make eye contact and move around the room to engage the attention of all the students and to communicate that you expect each of them to participate.

Create a balance between controlling the group dynamic and letting group members speak. While you are charged with facilitating the discussion from the perspective of an expert knowledgeable in the subject, the aim of the discussion is not to bring students around to your way of thinking, but rather to create the opportunity for students to think critically—to question assumptions, to consider multiple viewpoints, and to develop knowledge of the subject. Actively seek contributions from as many students as possible in a given session; if a few students want to speak all the time, remind them that you value their contributions but would like to hear from others as well.

Show respect for all questions and comments. Listen carefully. Thank students for their contributions. Point out what is valuable about your students’ arguments, whether or not you agree with them. Develop helpful responses to incorrect answers or comments that are not sufficiently related to the issue currently being discussed. Take students’ ideas seriously: help them clarify their thinking by asking them to provide evidence for their arguments and to respond to ideas and arguments offered by other students.

Do not answer your own questions. Give students 5-10 seconds to think and formulate a response. If 10-15 seconds pass without anyone volunteering an answer and the students are giving you puzzled looks, rephrase your question. Do not give in to the temptation to answer your own questions, which will condition students to hesitate before answering to see if you will supply “the answer.” Patience is key; do not be afraid of silence. The longer you wait for students to respond, the more thoughtful and complex their responses are likely to be.

 

 

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