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Surveying students prior to discussion

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The Cloudworks Team
17 June 2008

One of the reasons why discussion can fall flat is that students lack awareness of the alternatives to their own opinions and are insufficiently confident to investigate what opinions are held by other students. Juan I. Asensio Pérez and colleagues suggest using a survey of student views as a preparation for fruitful discussion. This is not just a strategy for “soft”, interpretative arts subjects: their example is taken from a course on computer networking, and the issue on which students’ opinions are surveyed is about the potential negative effects of a certain communications mechanism. The idea is that awareness of other points of view makes students reflect on why there are different approaches, challenges their own opinions, and helps them work their way to better-founded views. See pp. 90-91, ‘Prepare fruitful discussions using surveys’, and pp. 91-94, ‘Enriching discussions by generating cognitive conflicts’. TELL Pattern Book

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