chapter  9
6 Pages

A variety of methods

ByDorothy Dallas

Class ‘discussion’ all too often means either a teacher talking to him-or herself with pauses while waiting for answers which never come, or the teacher and five interested pupils holding a conversation while the rest of the class go to sleep. At the other end of the continuum there is verbal anarchy, modelled on Parliament or on TV debates. If the class is already conditioned by years of experiencing such anarchy, it is hopeless for a new teacher to attempt to change it just by asking, and he or she usually descends to the irritated shouts of ‘Put your hands up’, ‘I will not take shouted out answers!’ and finally ‘This class cannot discuss, I have to use worksheets’. This last is a sensible idea; the teacher can work up from well-regulated discussion in small groups gradually to a civilised discussion by a whole class-well, sometimes, anyway.