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Facilitating Effective Class Discussion

Class discussions can be exhilarating spaces of intellectual transformation, a series of painfully awkward moments whose end can’t come soon enough, or something in between. They can also be sites of challenging dynamics among students fueled by misunderstandings, lack of experience, oppression or discrimination, and many other issues.

Many colleagues find it useful to develop, in collaboration with their students, a set of shared expectations or guidelines for discussion. It’s important to ensure that the guidelines don’t prioritize the concerns, experiences, or feelings of safety of some students over others.

If you’re looking for perspective, strategies, and recommendations that can help you and your students engage in meaningful class discussion, I recommend the following:

If you’re looking for ways to navigate difficult class dynamics, you may find some of these resources useful: