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Round table discussion

Chad Walsh, Year 5 teacher at the Aga Khan Academy in Mombasa, India

Chad Walsh, Year 5 teacher at the Aga Khan Academy in Mombasa, Kenya

Grade 5 teacher shares how round table discussions are used in the classroom as a powerful way to promote speaking and listening.

“This year we have introduced something called a round table discussion. The students sit together and face one another. We then have them read an article or will tell them something to spark a conversation. It may be something controversial which will invite a debate or something to simply share their personal view on the subject.

To begin with, the teacher will need to guide and manage the flow of the conversation. Once the students have had enough experience it can be handed over to them. A lead student (tracker) can then record who speaks and contributes to the conversation by mapping it on a piece of paper.

We have found that it is best to start with the whole class. This will model how to conduct the discussions. Once they get the hang of it, then reduce the number of students. The dynamics will shift immediately and the quieter students will feel more comfortable to express and engage with the conversation.

This is such a powerful way to promote speaking and listening skills. The students then summarize the conversation and gain a deeper insight to different perspectives. From here they may either shift their original thinking because of someone else in the group or just strengthen their own conclusion.

Experiment doing this in your class to suit the students you teach. We will be doing this a lot more and will share the films with you in the near future. If you do try it please show us how you approached it with your students.”

There is a video embedded in the original article which can be found on Chad’s blog here.

Chad has previously worked at international schools in Thailand, China, amd Sweden as well as in government schools in Queensland, Australia. He believes that the PYP allows learning to flow and empowers students to take action in order to become more independent learners. In an ever changing world where demands on society (people), governance (leadership) and the environment (sustainability/nature) are so important, the PYP examines these domains deeply to promote a better world. Chad believes in a high challenge – low threat environment where pluralism and dialogue is the only way forward to meet the challenges of 21st century education. Chad collaborates with Sam Sherratt through their blog, Time Space Education and hope to offer workshops to other schools.

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5 Responses to Round table discussion

  1. free mind power 20 September 2014 at 11:32 am #

    Hello, after reading this amazing post i am also delighted to share my knowledge here with friends.

  2. Ben Eden 24 September 2014 at 2:39 pm #

    Mr Walsh! I don’t know if you remember me from your grade 5 class at Robina Primary, but email me when you see this. You’re a hard man to find haha

  3. Indian non-veg recipes 9 November 2014 at 10:06 pm #

    It’s really a cool aand helpful piece of info.

    I’m glad that you shared this useful information with
    us. Plsase stay us up to date like this. Thank you for sharing.

  4. Katie Bennett 16 December 2014 at 9:46 pm #

    As a 5th grade PYP teacher myself, I love the idea of implementing this approach into the classroom. With our social studies content (United States History from Reconstruction to Present Day), there are many topics and ideas that students will be able to explore and discuss with one another. Can’t wait to try this out in my own classroom!

  5. Sharon Crocker 16 January 2015 at 4:45 pm #

    I like the idea of round table discussions. In my 4th grade classroom, we receive copies of Scholastic News, which could provide meaningful, interesting topics for the students to discuss. I am also looking for a way for students to gain a deeper understanding of what they read and this might do the trick!

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