Discussion in Primary Schools

What form of education is the best? The old type which you were told to do a particular subject in silence, or the new scheme which encourages pupils to talk amongst themselves?

Children need to feel that they are getting the most out of their lessons and feel that they can ask questions not only to the teacher but their peers. Asking questions to themselves, I also feel to be important, to give them the confidence and no-how of finding out the answers themselves.  This could include reliability of online sources (have to cross-reference sources) and the different type of sources you can have: books, websites, atlases, journals etc.

Teachers could encourage children to talk amongst yourself because if you didn’t talk amongst yourself, how would you learn? The more confident pupils would dominate classroom discussion and the ones that haven’t contributed have learnt nothing – the information would just leave your head. But, does discussion distract their learning – the teacher taking a long time to make the class quiet to move on to something else.

Once you get to know the class you know your class you could pair the more confident children with the more shy children to bring the best out of children. The class will then have a more relaxed atmosphere and the best learning can take place.

Can discussion be cross-curricular or is it only for core-subjects? Although, I find it hard to imagine what children could talk about in Maths – being a more logical, number based subject. A pupils discussion should be for all subject; both core and non-core, in that way they can link their discussions throughout the subjects.

It is important that the children have a clear set of ideas of the distinction of subjects. Looking back on my primary school days, I actually don’t remember much of Geography, even though I must have learnt it and some lessons that I thought were History turned out to be a bit more arty. Teachers don’t show the distinction between the two very well and through discussion with peers, the subjects can still be cross-curricular but be more defined with learning objectives so children can be more aware of what they need to learn.

Discussion also helps creativity in the classroom. This is good especially in art, which most children think is an easy Friday afternoon lesson; it doesn’t have to be – it can be challenging and stimulating for the children. My aim as a teacher is to get them talking about art and sharing their ideas which would challenge them. I want my class to be critical and be able to criticise their peers work, in a nice friendly environment. I do not want them to be afraid to give feedback, so they can learn and get the best out of their work.