Religious Education: What are discussion and group techniques and how do they aid in effective teaching?


3 a iii). Explain what discussion and group techniques are and how do they aid in effective teaching.

Discussion and group techniques

Discussion is a learning activity where the teacher and learners talk together in order to share opinions, views or information about a topic or a problem. It makes an absolutely fundamental contribution to learning. A genuine discussion must start with some attempt to elicit opinions and knowledge from the learners to treat them seriously and to explore their consequences e.g. what they think about reasons for the spread of HIV I AIDS, their views about cultural practices in relation to the spread of HIV I AIDS, their opinion about the use of condoms, abstinence etc. There are two approaches to discussion expository- oriented and inquiry-oriented discussion. In expository, the teacher defines the objectives of the lesson, explains learning activities, allows for the discussion, and invites questions before concluding the activity.

In inquiry discussions, the teacher may not state the objectives, instead s/he arranges for the discussion to take place and the whole activity is open-ended. The teacher serves as a leader and students carry out the discussion and arrive at a conclusion. Learning is seen as the product of creative inquiry and active student participation. In inquiry-discussion, class sessions are characterized by:

  • The probing exploration of ideas, concepts and issues
  • Building upon audience responses in a developmental flow
  • Interaction among all participants.
  • Questioning, sharing, differing, conjecturing on the part of all.
  • Learner’s participation in decision-making.
  • Hypothesizing and problem solving.
  • Shifting leadership among participants.

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