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General Discussion Methods

Tips from the Experts:

Round-robin Anecdotes

Not as popular as it once was, the round-robin approach involves having each person tell about their experiences. No one has to talk, but all are heavily encouraged.

Round-robin remains a useful approach when dealing with nervous students and older adults. Round-robin is entirely a personal experience where individuals learn from introspection, not from being given external information.



This is a popular approach, breaking down the day into 3 parts. If you have enough time it is effective. However, many teachers think this breakdown is idealistic, and have difficulty finding the time to fit all 3 parts in the day.

  1. First part of class review work from the previous day (typically 5-15 minutes)
  2. Second part of class give the discussion/lecture/activity for the day.
  3. Third section of class have student work on guided practice, where you can give help as they try to apply the skills learned.


Examine what topics are opened by writing with a two-fold approach.

  1. First part of class review the text and argument.
  2. Second part of class have students identify a places that are problematic or interesting, then develop each area a little in class discussion.


Examine the exact argument being presented in (student’s papers, text) in a two-fold approach.

  1. First part of class use textual evidence for subject, audience, method, purpose, tone, etc.
  2. Second part of class have students give their evaluations of the above. Is it a good argument?

Other tips

  1. Decide whether to correct students when they are wrong, let other students do so, or provide opportunities for students to find the answer themselves (designate one to check it out on a laptop for example), then discuss the answer, or not.
  2. Work off students’ opinions of the text/ writing/ issue, and encourage students to develop those using personal experience and texts.
  3. Base your discussion on examples handed out in class, or have students create their own at the beginning of class.

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