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Orchestrating Whole Classroom Discussion (Coursera)

This course offers strategies that can lead to richer, more productive, whole-class discussions in their classrooms. Focusing on how to prepare for discussion, this course is for anyone who leads, wants to lead, or is interested in how teachers lead discussion.

Across the 4 sessions in this course, we’ll learn more about what teachers and students need to do to prepare for rich discussions, including understanding:

1. What is (and isn’t) discussion, and why discussion is important

2. How teachers set goals for discussion, and establish explicit norms that support these objectives

3. How teachers select texts and prepare text-based questions to guide the conversation

4. How teachers – based on these goals, norms, texts, and questions – then prepare students for the whole-class discussion

The course consists of short videos interspersed with various thinking tasks—such as reflecting on videos of classroom discussions in action, and designing and receiving peer feedback on aspects of a Discussion Plan, a plan for a discussion you’ll lead in your own classroom.

Who is this class for: This course is primarily designed for current and prospective teachers who want to learn more about setting up productive whole-class discussions as well as those who are interested in how teachers lead conversations.