Student Centered Discussion© Training Series


This program is offered most fall and spring semesters.


Student Centered Discussion© (SCD) is a process for training students to have productive, generative discussions about the course content. But facilitating discussions such as these does not just happen. Instructors must create a climate conducive to student centered discussion, promote the skills required for effective discussion (i.e., communication, interpersonal competence, critical thinking), and provide students with a workable process for structuring discussion and tools that maximize the efficacy of discussions. In this four part workshop series, we will address each of these components.

SCD is a flexible model. It can be successfully incorporated into any discipline - from English, linguistics, and history, to social sciences; from the life, physical and information sciences to mathematics and engineering.

Session 1: Climate: Setting the stage for Student Centered Discussion©

Class discussions range from lively, thought-provoking conversation to awkward silence among a decidedly sullen group. Often times the difference lies in the climate the instructor sets for discussion. The classroom climate has a strong affect on student learning. In this workshop we will discuss how to create a classroom setting that encourages students to participate and take risks in class discussions.

Session 2: Skills: There’s more to discussion than just talk

Student Centered Discussion© does more than provide a structure for great conversations. It trains students in skills that should be developed and honed throughout their education. In this workshop, we will discuss how Student Centered Discussion© promotes skills such as active reading, articulate communication, interpersonal competence and critical thinking skills (i.e., problem solving, synthesizing, reflecting).

Session 3: Process: The nuts and bolts of Student Centered Discussion©

This workshop presents the guidelines, tools and recommendations for facilitating SCD. We will present materials and resources on how to get students going in discussions. These include active reading exercises; talk groups, warm up activities, and the opening move. Participants will also be instructed on how to facilitate discussions, how to take notes on discussions to use for feedback and assessment, and how to troubleshoot when problems arise. Teaching a large class? No problem. Strategies on how to incorporate Student Centered Discussion© will also be presented.

Session 4: Putting it all together: How to implement Student Centered Discussion©

In this final workshop, participants will learn how to incorporate student centered discussion into their courses. We will discuss how to include Student Centered Discussion© as a learning objective, show examples of how to include it in course syllabi, and offer step by step suggestions on including SCD in courses. Each participant will also practice facilitating a discussion and will be given feedback and suggestions.