GD: Tips and Guide for Group Discussion

Factors leading to effective group discussion


Listening to each other's points of view

Everyone getting their say

Contributing and sharing ideas, not being afraid to take risks

Preparation - aids understanding of discussion, enables formulation of own opinions and contribution to discussion. Informal discussion outside tutorials can build confidence

Trust and mutual respect create a safe and relaxed atmosphere

Giving each other time to reflect and formulate ideas

Being prepared to ask questions, clarify points and become familiar with terminology

Positive body language shows you are alert and involved in the discussion - e.g. nodding, eye-contact, affirmative noises all help to create a mutually supportive atmosphere

Although physical location is often beyond our control, try to make the best of it. It helps to be able to see all members of the group

Acknowledgement of group dynamics

Larger groups can be broken down into smaller groups

Continuity important in creating positive and safe group atmosphere - shared involvement and commitment helps

Ideally all members facilitate group discussion by helping to create a safe environment for the exploration of ideas


Factors leading to ineffective group discussion

Unwillingness to listen, fixed position

Exclusion of some members

Lack of input in discussion

Lack of confidence in one's own knowledge and opinions

Being intimidated - both by tutor's knowledge and by other members of the group

Long silences - can be uncomfortable

Not feeling like you can ask questions

Some members not responding to other people's ideas, e.g. looking out the window, staring at the floor etc.

Physical location, type of teaching room and seating arrangements can all affect group discussion

Fear of group processes

Size is important

Problem of fortnightly meetings, lack of commitment of group members can lead to problems in forming group dynamic

Attitudes within the group affect group discussions.



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