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Better Discussion

Christine Perrott

An everyday discussion involves an issue and a sense of argument and debate, examination and consideration. Hence we say that something is 'under consideration' or 'open to discussion' and mean that it has in some sense been undecided or unresolved . In discussion we offer views and ideas, and consider and comment on the views and ideas of the others.
Many teachers are disappointed with the quantity and quality of interaction when their classes are discussing something. Although where the children sit and the types of questions the teacher asks are important, this article is about improving discussion by giving attention to the overall nature of the discourse. The good news is that most of the discourse factors that inhibit good classroom discussion can .be altered without undue difficulty. One of the best ways to illustrate how this can be achieved is by examining actual classroom transcripts.

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