Creating a supportive community: discussion and writing activities

August 29, 2008 at 2:27 pm Leave a comment

We did a nice carousel discussion activity in our seminar on education and teaching. The tables and chairs were already arranged to form the right number of groups and the roughly circular overall shape needed for the activity. Each group got a marker pen (different colours) and a flip chart sheet with a question relating to the topic (different questions for each group). We were given a set time period to discuss the question and note our key points, before the signal to move round to a new question (all groups moving in the same direction), repeating until back at the original question, with thoughts from all the groups noted on the flip chart.

One of the instructions was to have a different scribe in the group for each question, so everyone had this role. I asked how you could make this comfortable for children with writing difficulties, having met quite a few children who’ve been traumatised by public writing (and reading). The answer came back to this sense of community and trust:

– say you’re not looking at writing or spelling, it’s just to keep a note of the ideas

– suggest children can choose a writing buddy, or a spelling buddy, if they’re worried

– value all contributions, and encourage the children to do this: the writing job is important because it makes people feel you’re listening when you put their idea on the sheet, people might have different ideas and it’s OK to disagree (essential for a really good debate!), you’re not looking for an “answer”

– you could introduce it by saying something like, “People who don’t usually do the writing are going to take a risk today and have a go, but everyone is going to help.”


Entry filed under: activities, pedagogy.

Getting children into groups Creating a supportive community: speaking

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