Effective Social Studies Classroom Discussion

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Contents

Introduction

Author:Dan Fountain

Every good social studies teacher has the desire to have their students interacting with the material and not just passively receiving information from an instructor. The best way to accomplish this task is by creating an environment in the classroom where effect effective social studies classroom discussion takes place. Kathleen Cotton in her article argues that classroom discussion is the key to enhancing student knowledge. [1]Now this goes well beyond a teacher simply asking lower level questions and evaluating student responses to see if they were listening. There is nothing wrong with fact checking questions, but a great classroom discussion that will create enthusiasm amongst the class and engage students with the material has to have higher order questions.

This mini-course will educate teachers on how to ensure that effective social studies classroom discussion is taking place. In order to fully learn a new style of curriculum, one must first fully believe in it. Therefore, this mini course will start out with the benefits of discussion in the classroom and show how the occassional simple question and answer has too many shortcomings. Then the process of creating a higher order question will be covered along with the proper way of responding to student answers and encouraging other students to participate in the discussion. The goal of this course is to have all social studies teachers utilizing the Initiate-Response-Feedback model of classroom questioning combined with higher order questions so students develop an indepth mastery understanding of the topic.

This course will ensure that teachers are not teaching students to blindly remember a few facts for a multiple choice test, but that students are learning how to think, analyze, compare, create, synthesize and problem solve. Effective discussion leads to higher order thinking and skills that will benefit all students in their future education and in their lives.

Target Audience

This mini-course on effective social studies classroom discussion is specifically engineered to meet the needs of teachers who work with adolescence, or students in grades 7-12. Obviously, effective classroom discussion should be used at all levels, it is just the style of discussion taught in this course is within the parameters of middle and high school students. The target audience of this mini-course is social studies teachers who instruct students within the aforementioned grade levels.

Overall Course Goals

(1) In a social studies classroom, the student(Classroom Teacher) will be able to summarize the limitations of the Initiate, Response, Evaluation (IRE) Model of classroom discussion.

(2) In a social studies classroom, the student(Classroom Teacher) will be able to generate higher order thinking questions and pose them to their class at least 5 times a period.

(3) In a social studies classroom, the student(Classroom Teacher) will be able to adopt their class's responses and create delving questions to further promote deeper understanding utilizing the Initiate, Response, Feedback (IRF) model of questioning.

(4) In a social studies classroom, the student(Classroom Teacher) will be able to state the advantages of the Initiate, Response, Feedback (IRF) Model of classroom discussion.

Unit 1: Why Teachers Need to Use Discussion in the Classroom

Why Teachers Need to Use Discussion in the Classroom

Unit 2: Why the IRE Model of Questioning is Ineffective

Why the IRE Model of Questioning is Ineffective

Unit 3: The Dynamics of a Great Higher Order Question

The Dynamics of a Great Higher Order Question

Unit 4: Encouraging Student Responses and Providing Engaging Feedback

Encouraging Student Responses and Providing Engaging Feedback

Unit 5: Putting it All Together: The IRF Model

Putting it All Together: The IRF Model


Dan Fountain's Portfolio Page

ETAP 623 Spring 2009 Project Index

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