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Tips for group discussions

Tips for group discussions

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Tutor: Sam

Summary

Tips for group discussions    

In a nutshell

Group discussions are a great opportunity to share ideas and opinions about any topic. It's always important to share you thoughts but also to listen to others' opinions. 


​​Discussion skills

Discussing with friends and discussing with a group of classmates is completely different. With friends you are more confortable and sometimes you ended up talking all at once without properly listening to each other. Here are some Do's and Don'ts when discussing in a group.


Do

​​Don't

  • Speak clearly and with confidence;
  • Listen to others opinions;
  • Show that you listened by commenting on what was said.
  • Don't interrupt;
  • Don't talk over anyone else.


​​Stimulus

In a more formal environment, you may be given a stimulus like a text or an object as the central point of the discussion. This stimulus may introduce a topic of controversy in order to develop a more interesting discussion with different opinions and points of view. 


Preparing for discussion

When given the stimulus, and if you have time to prepare, there are certain things to take into consideration:

  • Give a detailed argument;
  • Justify your opinion with evidence;
  • Speak clearly;
  • Respect others opinions.


​​Vocabulary

Usually during a group discussion, Standard English is used. In order to prepare for a discussion, you should think of a few sentences to help you in the process. Here are a few examples:

  • I fully believe that...
  • It has been suggested that...however...
  • Although many people have suggested that...
  • Despite listening to some very convincing arguments, I still believe that...


​​Listen to others

If you are involved in a discussion, it's important to listen to others opinions but you should also be able to respond accordingly. It's perfectly normal to have a different opinion as long as you give a valid and justified response. Here are some examples of what you can say:

  • I agree with the point you're making and I'd like to add....
  • That is an interesting point, however I feel like...
  • I can see why you believe that, but I feel...
  • On the other hand, it is also possible to believe that...


Questions

Besides being able to give your opinion and listening to others, you should also learn how to ask questions. Asking questions helps the discussion move forward and also deconstruct someone's argument. 


Asking questions

There are two different types of questions you can ask: open-ended questions or closed questions. 


Open-ended questions

Example

The answer can't be a simple 'yes' or 'no'.  It must be detailed and explain why your opinion is valid and correct.
"What were some of the challenges you faced when starting this new school year?"

Closed questions

Example

Generally requires a 'yes' or 'no' answer. These questions usually force someone to commit to their opinion.
"Do you think there is too much crime in London?"


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Exercises

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FAQs - Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of questions can be asked when having a group discussion?

What are some don'ts when having a group discussion?

What are some do's when having a group discussion?

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