Models for Structuring Discussion-Based Learning

2 September 2020 (Wed) , 12 PM - 1:30 PM

Discussion is a central element of the Yale-NUS experience. The earliest curriculum reports describe ‘articulate communication’ as a primary objective of our educational model, and the Common Curriculum runs on ‘discussion sections,’ as they are commonly described by students and faculty alike. These can be taught in a variety of formats according to a range of pedagogical principles. Some faculty members’ discussion sections operate quite fluidly and with minimal structure. Others are highly structured with clear learning activities, assigned speaking roles, and explicit discussion guidelines. We are all learning to teach in a new context, behind masks, in front of screens, and many of us find ourselves reconsidering our past approach to leading discussion. In this new context, our expectations for student involvement in discussion, that were once implicit may need to be made even more explicit and structured. Neil Mehta, Associate Professor and Head of Studies for Philosophy, and Matt Stamps, Assistant Professor in Mathematical, Computational and Statistical Sciences, will share their own approaches to structured discussion, specific techniques that have been effective in the past, and spark a collegial conversation about how we can approach discussion in a distanced teaching context.

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