Reply To: What teaching and learning techniques have you tried in your classroom lately?

NJ Professor

Brainstorming or having students work through any problem or question in groups has been particularly effective. I’ve found that keeping groups to 2 or 3 students is helpful in engaging quieter or more hesitant students who don’t feel comfortable sharing in front of the class.

I am also a huge fan of the Fishbowl. I’ve been using the Fishbowl for the past 3 years slightly differently than how it’s presented in the Discussion module, but I’ve found that students are eager to participate when discussion is presented in this format. I use the Fishbowl as a way for students to debate controversial topics presented in their readings. Students draw cards to see who starts in the middle as the discussion pioneers, but I allow student to tap the middle students on the shoulder during the Fishbowl if they want to participate and switch places with them. As the instructor, I have also sat in the center chairs with the students to shake discussions up a bit. In the future, I’d like to start using a grading rubric during Fishbowl to further motivate student participation. I don’t require students to participate, and most of my students have been anxious to jump into the discussion, but I think grading students on their participation in Fishbowl would bring a new dimension to it.