Discussion Method of Teaching

Exchange of ideas between several people is the best process of learning and teaching from one another. It is called discussion method of teaching.

Discussion Method of Teaching and Learning

Exchange of ideas between several people is the best process of learning and teaching from one another. It is called discussion method of teaching and learning. In the classroom environment, discussion is the best way of promoting conducive learning and convenient teaching situation. It refers to the method of instruction which give pupils an opportunity to express their views or opinions orally on certain issues. One person speaks at a time, while others are listening. It doesn't always involve the presentation of new information and concepts.

Discussion Method of Teaching

It also involves sharing of ideas and experiences, solving problems and promoting tolerance. understanding. Discussion method is suitable is many situations and can be used in many situations of teaching and learning. There are different with forms of discussion that can be used in the classroom. Kochhar (1985) identifies two major types of discussion which are formal and informal. Informal discussions are governed by pre-determined set of rules and it includes debates, panels, symposia etc.

Preparation of Discussion Method

Planning is very important for the success of any technique, because if any work is done without prior preparation, then success cannot be achieved. Therefore, before using the debate method in the class, a well-planned arrangement should be made, such as-

  1. The teacher should create such a classroom environment in which all the students can freely exchange their ideas.
  2. Proper seating arrangement should be made for the students. The proper arrangement is such that all the students can see each other and teachers can also see all the students.
  3. The content of the debate should be clear to the students.
  4. To prepare for the debate, the students should be told in advance.

Key Parts of Discussion Method

The five main parts of the discussion are given as follows-

(1) Leader, (2) Group (3) Problem (4) Content (5) Evaluation

(1) Leader:- The leader of any debate in the class is the teacher. As a leader, the teacher should go to the class after preparing a lot before conducting the debate. For example, he has to decide first about the subject to be studied and how to plan it. It has often been seen that many teachers engage themselves in debate and try to dominate the entire scene. This is against the primacy of the debate. He will have to encourage all the students to engage in debate and give proper guidance whenever a student finds difficulty in expressing his views.

(2) Group:- There is a group of students in a dispute. The group consists of students with different temperaments and thoughts, who differ from each other in intelligence, interest, temperament and ideas. It is the duty of the teacher to encourage every student to participate in the debate. It has been observed that at first shy or slow-witted students are afraid to speak and if they try to speak on the encouragement of the teacher, then they are increasingly ridiculed. The teacher should not allow such a situation to arise. He should also appreciate the thoughts of the mentally retarded students by listening carefully.

(3) Problem:- The topic of debate should be such, which the students understand as their own. This subject should be according to their age, intelligence and condition. The teacher should also seek the cooperation of the students while choosing the problem.

(4) Material:- Material means the necessary subject matter for study. Under this, books, magazines, newspapers, pictures, maps and other types of material must also be used. The teacher has to take the responsibility of mobilizing this material to the students.

(5) Evaluation:- The main objective of debate is to bring about desirable changes in the students. If the debate does not bring any change then it will be considered meaningless and if it does bring change then the question arises that how much change has happened in the students. It becomes necessary to evaluate that desired change. Evaluation of desired changes can be done by the student himself as well as by the teacher. For evaluation we can use different types of questionnaires or interviews and find out what changes happened in different areas. For example, how much intellectual development took place. How much has the knowledge of the subject increased? How much intellectual abilities increased, what were the changes in aptitude and values, what were the changes in interests? e.t.c.

Conduction of Discussion Method

The debate can be started by both the student and the teacher. The student or teacher can start the debate by telling a story, creating a problem, showing an object, showing a picture or describing an event. How to start a debate depends on the purpose of the debate. He needs to reach his objectives once the debate starts. For this efficient operation is necessary. The conduct should be done in such a way that all the students participating in the debate can express their ideas easily, freely, willingly and successfully.

The director should always keep in mind the predetermined objectives through debate. Afterwards, intervening questions can be resorted to to take the dispute towards the objectives. Some particular facts can also be explained, some points can also be analyzed and in the end a summary of the whole debate can also be drawn. In this way the following four points are included in the conduct of the debate-

(1) Commencement, (2) Analysis, (3) Explanation, (4) Summary

As far as the arrangement for conducting the debate is concerned, the class for debate can either be divided into different pieces or the whole class can debate together. If the class is divided into groups, then each group should not have more than four or five students. Each group will discuss the given problem and come to a conclusion and finally present its report to the whole class. In this way all the groups will submit their reports, then all these reports will be debated in the whole class.

The Advantages of Discussion Method of Teaching

1. Emphasis on Learning instead of Teaching:- Discussion Method emphasises pupil-activity in the form of discussion, rather than simply telling and lecturing by the teacher, Thus, this method is more effective.

2. Participation by Everybody:- In this method, everybody participates in the discussion, and therefore thinks and expresses himself. This is a sure way of learning.

3. Development of Democratic way of Thinking:- Everybody cooperates in the discussion, and the ideas and opinions of everybody are respected. Thus, there is a development of democratic way of thinking and arriving at decision.

4. Training in Reflective Thinking:- Students, during the course of discussion, get training in reflective Chinking, which leads to deeper understanding of the historical problem under discussion.

5. Training of Self-expression:- During discussion, everybody is required to express his ideas and opinions in a clear and concise manner. This provides ample opportunities to the students for training in self-expression.

6. Spirit of Tolerance is inculcated:- The students learn to discuss and differ with other members of the group. They learn to tolerate the views of others even if they are unpleasant and contradictory to each others' views. Thus, respect for the view points of others in developed.

7. Learning is made Interesting:- History is considered to be a dry subject. The learning of history is made interesting through Discussion Method. More effective learning is possible when the students discuss, criticise and share ideas on a particular problem. Active participation by the students in the discussion makes learning full of interest for the students. This also ensures better and effective learning.


  1. All types of topics cannot be taught by Discussion Method.
  2. This method cannot be used for teaching small children.
  3. The students may not follow the rules of discussion.
  4. Some students may not take part while others may try to dominate.

Some Tips to Make the Discussion Method Effective

  1. All necessary preparations should be completed before the debate begins. The teacher should see that the students have read the magazines and booklets related to the subject matter.
  2. Appropriate boundaries of the problem should be tied so that the student does not deviate from the focal point. The teacher should also not allow unnecessary and unrelated debates to run in the class.
  3. The problem for the debate should be selected in such a way that this problem is suited to their age and condition and they realize its importance quickly.
  4. The debate method can be successful only if all the students participate. Therefore the teacher should encourage even shy students to participate.
  5. The debate should also be evaluated without any bias.

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