“Learning to participate in discussion is a lifelong learning project, and most of us go to our graves feeling we still have a lot to learn.”

brookfield 2However, as authors Brookfield and Preskill note, that “doesn’t mean that we can’t get better at creating the conditions under which good discussion is more likely to occur.” We can increase the odds of being successful by planning carefully, having realistic expectations, and being willing to monitor closely its value for students (45). I believe that this third point – about students recognizing its value – is especially critical. Many students arrive with histories that make them rightfully skeptical about its value. It’s a mistake to gloss over their reluctance; earning their trust and respect must be a part of the process.

Stephen D. Brookfield and Stephen Preskill, Discussion as a Way of Teaching: Tools and Techniques for Democratic Classrooms, 2nd ed. (San Francisco: Jossey Bass, A Wiley Imprint: 2005), 37.

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