Education is a difficult process that has been going on throughout human civilization since the dawn of time. The way it is being taught changes drastically from time to time and from place to place, yet one thing remains constant: classes need a teacher and students need to learn. However, there are many ways in which teachers can teach their classes and stimulate their students. One of the most interesting techniques that teachers can use to stimulate their class is having open discussions with them about certain problems, issues, or even topics regarding what they are learning at the time.
Long Lectures are Boring
Long lectures are not just boring for the students, they also put them in danger of failing to see what is important. The human brain can process only so much information at once, especially if the material is new and difficult for it to understand. The retention rate of information when listening to a lecture goes down dramatically if the students are not motivated to take in the information. Furthermore, if the material is too complicated for the brain’s processing power, students start forgetting what they have already learned. As result, only a few minutes after the lecture is over students are struggling to remember what they were taught.
Although many teachers try to present their lectures interestingly, using a mixture of media or a different tone, it is hard for students to retain the information they receive from them. However, when you have an open discussion with your class about what you are teaching at the moment, you can increase their motivation and allow them to see that material from a new perspective.
Open Class Discussion Stimulates Memory Functions
An open class discussion stimulates several memory functions in students’ brains. First of all, when students are participating in the discussion they are not only processing information that they receive through listening, but also through speaking and thinking. By communicating with their classmates about what is being taught at the moment, students activate other regions in their brain which take part in storing or recalling information. Therefore, they can understand the material better thanks to them speaking their thoughts out loud which makes it easier for them to process that information into memory. Furthermore, they also put down what has already been taught into a written form which is another way of storing that knowledge in their long-term memory.
Engaging Students With Thoughtful Class Discussions
Here are some creative ways to engage students with thoughtful class discussions:
1. Creating a brainstorming forum on the topic.
Allow each student to write down one big idea that they have about the subject before the beginning discussion. This ensures that everyone has something to contribute to the conversation, and it also gives you an easy-to-follow structure for your discussion.
2. A debate on the topic.
You can structure a class discussion as a debate, either arguing for or against a proposed idea. This allows students to form their opinions and layout strong arguments if they choose to argue the side that is contrary to yours.
3. Offer a second or third viewpoint.
If you are teaching about an upcoming event, such as the election, you can provide multiple points of view on the topic and encourage students to argue for one they disagree with. This works especially well if it is a controversial topic that many of your students feel strongly about. An open debate can be a very effective way to get students thinking critically about the topic you are discussing.
4. Breaking up into groups.
If your class is too large for an open discussion, consider breaking them up into smaller groups. Within these groups, students will have more freedom to speak their minds and engage in debate with one another over the subject.
5. Starting with a question.
If you feel like students will be too shy to speak up in front of the class, try starting the discussion with a thought-provoking question. This will give them an easy topic about which they can formulate their thoughts and express their opinions without feeling too much pressure.
6. Doing it online.
If your class is online, you can take advantage of the public forum to hold class discussions between students about the assigned material. If these are not sufficient for getting students engaged in their learning, consider using a virtual classroom or discussion tool where they can speak more candidly with one another about the subject.
In conclusion, an open class discussion stimulates several memory functions in students’ brains as they are not only processing the information through listening but also speaking and thinking. By communicating with their classmates about what is being taught at the moment, students activate other regions of their brain which take part in storing or recalling information. They will be able to understand the material better thanks to their speaking their thoughts out loud which makes it easier for them to process that information into memory. Furthermore, they also put down what has already been taught into a written form which is another way of storing that knowledge in their long-term memory.
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