Instructional Methods: The different types of discussions.

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Chapter Five

Facilitation Methods

5b (ii) Identify different types of discussions.

  • Roundtable: this is a quite informal group, usually five or fewer participants who sit around a table and converse among themselves and with the audience. Normally, there is active learning and responding. It is also characterized by the effective exchange of ideas, opinions, and viewpoints.
  • Panel: It is a fairly informal setting in which four to six participants with a chairman discuss a topic among themselves and there is a give and take with the class. It allows for free flow and exposition of ideas; it is wide open and spontaneous in exchange of views. Each participant makes an opening statement, but there are no speeches. The class is given room to make comments freely, giving their views.
  • Forum: a type of panel approach in which a panel gives and talks with the audience.
  • Symposium: this is a more formal setting in which the participants present speeches representing different positions and open up for questions from the floor. It requires thoughtful preparation and is useful in a science class where research findings can be discussed or topics of controversy.
  • Debate: a very formal approach consisting of set speeches by participants of two opposing teams and a rebuttal by each participant. It calls for careful planning for it to be productive.
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