Discussion Rules

Contributor: Suzanne Riordan. Lesson ID: 13929

A teacher says, "Get into a group and discuss...". Do you cheer, panic, or go to sleep? Whatever your reaction, this lesson will help you to participate better and get more out of those discussions!


Verbal Communication

English / Language Arts
learning style
Auditory, Visual
personality style
Beaver, Golden Retriever
Grade Level
Middle School (6-8)
Lesson Type
Skill Sharpener

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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Conversations can get very confusing sometimes.

Watch as comedians Abbott and Costello discuss the members of a new baseball team in "Who's On First."

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Abbott and Costello could have avoided a lot of confusion if they had listened to each other more carefully and explained their meanings more clearly!

You'll often be asked to participate in group discussions — in school, at home, at church, and in other settings. As in most things, discussions go better when you follow the rules.

  • What are some of the rules for a good discussion?

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Sentence Starters

Sometimes, we're not sure what to say in a discussion!

Here are some ideas to get you started. You can use these as a guide for future discussions.

If you'd like a copy, print out the Discussion Guide found under the Downloadable Resources in the right-hand sidebar.

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Subject-Related Sentence Starters

You can also create a list of sentence starters to help you with different subjects. Here are some ideas.

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Full Participation

shy girl 

In a group discussion, it's best if everyone gets to contribute.

  • What if someone in your group is not participating?

Some people are naturally shy and quiet. Invite them to join the conversation! Use their names, and ask a question such as: "Beth, what do you think about what Aaron just said?"

Evaluating Your Discussion

When your group discussion is over, evaluating how well it went is important. Here are some questions you can ask.

  • Did the group stay on topic?
  • Did everyone participate?
  • Was everyone respectful and serious about the discussion?
  • Did everyone listen attentively?
  • Did the speakers share good ideas and express themselves well?

Remember, whenever you're asked to participate in a discussion, do your best to present your arguments clearly and then respectfully build on, challenge, or question what others say.

  • Ready to test your knowledge of discussion rules?

Go to the Got It? section now!

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