How to Implement Whole Group Class Discussion in Your Classroom


A whole group class discussion gets all learners in the class talking to one another in one group. When I utilize this method, I try to get learners sitting in a conversation circle. The advantages of learners sitting in a circle are:

  • There is a neutral power format with no one at the head of the discussion.
  • All learners can see one another.


  • Whole class discussions encourage all learners to develop the confidence to share their views in public.
  • If the whole class participates, there can be a lot of great back-and-forth.


  • Often, the loudest and most confident learners dominate the discussion.
  • Some learners are too shy to speak up.
  • It is easy to embarrass a learner, so be careful to be sensitive.


  1. Utilize a speaking stick, so one person speaks at a time. The only person speaking is the person holding the speaking stick.
  2. Utilize discussion circles so that all learners can see each other when talking.
  3. If the conversation is slow to start, consider asking individual learners direct questions.
  4. Utilize open-ended questions to force learners to answer in full sentences.
Choose your Reaction!