Small-Group Discussion Versus Whole-Class Discussion

Sezin Sevimli on June 25, 2021

Discussions of small groups and whole classes may differ a lot, but as a result, certain properties will remain the same. You can see different features on this page.

4-7 people in each groupWhole-class
The teacher should give the rules and select a student for the group leader.Teachers shouldn’t have a dominant role. The teacher should create a safe environment for participants and be a moderator.
Various groups can work on diverse subjectsThe class needs to know the topic beforehand.
Leadership abilities develop.The teacher should make the discussion interactive.
Brainstorms can be an example.Textbooks are important

Small group discussions often lead students to hear each other’s ideas more and dig deeper. The teacher should be careful as other discussions will take place in the classroom at the same time. However, we can say that it is more advantageous than the whole class discussion in terms of time. Because while the number of people to talk to in the whole class is +15, 4 to 7 people talk in small group discussions. This way everyone has time to talk.

Whole class discussions, on the other hand, provide a nice environment for all students to interact. Students hear different ideas and since there is no specific person directing and dominating the environment, every student may be willing to participate in the conversation. Of course, some students will be more reserved. In this case, the situation is brought under control with the intervention of the teacher.

Regardless of the discussion, topics should create a reliable environment for students and not leave anyone in trouble. Students should enjoy and love discussion rather than being afraid of it. Thus, besides their speaking skills, their empathy skills and critical thinking skills will also develop.

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Moore, K. D. (2009). Effective Instructional Strategies: From Theory to Practice (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.