Teaching Assistants' Training Program

Centre for Teaching Support & Innovation, 130 St. George Street, Robarts Library, 4th floor

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UTM: Good Questions, Better Discussions: How to Design and Facilitate Effective Classroom Discussions

Wednesday, December 6, 2017 @ 10:00 am - 12:00 pm EST


Wednesday, December 6, 2017
10:00 am - 12:00 pm EST
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University of Toronto Mississauga – IB240 – CORE

Abdullah Farooqi, TATP Humanities Trainer
Jillian Bieser, TATP Sciences Trainer 

It has happened to all of us. We invite students to participate in class – “Does anybody have any questions?”, “Tell me what you understood from the reading?”, or “Who would like to share their thoughts about data we have gathered thus far?”– and in response we hear silence, often accompanied by blank stares or downcast eyes. Undoubtedly, asking and answering questions is key to the learning process and effective teaching. Asking skillful questions inspires and motivates students to engage in higher-order reasoning.

In this session, we will review strategies for leading effective discussion-based tutorials in both classroom and lab settings.  We will explore how to prepare yourself to lead an engaging discussion, how you can encourage students to come to tutorial prepared for meaningful discussion, and what to do when students do not arrive prepared. We discuss different functions of questions, investigate problems and techniques associated with questions, assess characteristics of good questions (and good questioners), strategize how to encourage students’ responses to our questions, and review how we can encourage questions from students.


University of Toronto Mississauga: DH 2080