Picture This Essay

3258 Words 14 Pages
Picture This

Picture this: you are trying to hold a class discussion, You're writing like mad on the chalkboard; you have some great questions, ones you've picked especially for discussion purposes; and you've even brought in the overhead projector. And yet they are sitting there like stones. One in the back row is snoring and two in the front are doodling on your handout. This is not how you pictured it when you were planning it. You pictured everyone eager to say something. They disagree with one another, but politely and elegantly. Everyone has something to say and everyone lets them.

Teachers are often discouraged and frustrated with class discussions, I know I often have been. Either they don't say a word or they all talk at
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A class discussion, presentation or demonstration is a staged event; this is not the sort of spoken language that usually goes on between friends at lunch. It is an unnatural form, yet a completely necessary ability to succeed in the professional world.

Much of the same can be seen in college writing. Writing a cause and effect paper is artificial. Yet, it helps them understand an aspect of writing at the college level and prepares them to use this understanding to write papers in their discipline. If you see the correlation I am making, then you might guess my next statement. I believe there is a strong connection between class discussions and writing. Especially at the college freshman level. Many of the concepts developed in a class discussion are the components many of us use to evaluate papers. Do they have interesting ideas? Are they clear? Is it cohesive? Do they support their statements? These are all things we look for in a paper and they can be found in a class discussion.

So, in this paper I will first identify some of the benefits of class discussion in the writing classroom. Then, I will address teacher and student apprehension to class discussion. And finally, I will offer some techniques and advice on how to conduct effective classroom discussions.

To start at the top then, why are class discussions so important? In Brookfield and Preskill's Discussion as a Way of Teaching,

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