How can I stimulate discussion if/when it dies down?
- Stir up the energy in the room by breaking the class into small groups (not
more than 4-5 people per group if you can help it). Give the groups stimulating
assignments: take a stand on a discussion related low-consensus issue, or
identify the two most important issues about the reading that should be discussed
before the end of class. Or you can pick up a topic that excited them ten
minutes ago and tell each group to take it further.
- Do something unexpected that shifts the energy. If you've been in groups,
ask them each to take out a sheet of paper. Give them a thought provoking
question and ask them to write on it for 5-8 minutes (you be the judge of
how much time you can afford, but try to give them reasonable thinking time).
If you've been trying to have a whole group discussion, shift to pairs, fours
or a feedback
- Have an interesting story ready that relates to the topic.
- Introduce a set of slides, a video clip, or something visual that illustrates
or approaches the topic in a new way.