Teaching basic lab skills
for research computing

The Discussion Book

Hot on the heels of Small Teaching (which we reviewed last week) comes Brookfield and Preskill’s The Discussion Book. Its subtitle is “50 great ways to get people talking”, and that’s exactly what it delivers: one succinct description after another of techniques you can use in classes or meetings to get everyone talking productively. Each one is covered in three or four pages with the headings “Purposes”, “How It Works”, “Where and When It Works Well”, “What Users Appreciate”, “What to Watch Out For”, and “Questions Suited to This Technique”.

I’ve used some of these before, like Circular Response, Think-Pair-Share, and Justifiable Pressure. Others seem less practical to me, but given how incisive everything else in this book is, I’m probably mistaken. Overall, it reminded me of Lemov’s Teach Like a Champion, and I think it deserves to be just as widely read.

Dialogue & Discussion

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