Definition of Discussion Group





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Discussion is one of the most widely used and valuable methods in the teaching of social studies. It represents a type of teamwork, based on the principle that the knowledge, ideas, and feelings of several members have great merit than those of a single individual. Lowman (1987) highlighted this view point that two types of teacher. Student interchanges are sometimes called discussion. In one side, the teacher gives students an opportunity to clarify content or ask for opinions on related topic. In the other, the teacher asks questions requiring specific knowledge of course content. In a discussion class the students are actively involved in processing information and ideas. Since student-initiated questions are more common in discussion classes, their needs and interests are dealt with more readily and spontaneously than in other methods as pointed out by Gage and Berliner, (1988:99) that discussion is a forum in which students can practice expressing themselves clearly and accurately, hearing the variety of forms that expression of the same idea can take, and criticizing and evaluating successive approximations to an adequate statement.

Group Discussion

Hyman (1980:98) highlights that discussion is used to arrive at the solution of problems and is characteristics of democratic societies. It occurs in a group form and usually involves six to ten persons. These persons perform one of two roles: leader-moderator who is typically the teacher, and participant: typically the students. Participants use the time to communicate with each other. Another student follows the group leader addresses his/ her remark to the whole group and each group member has the right to speak. A group member communicates with other members in the group by speech, and by facial expressions, gestures and body movement. Other members receive his / her message by listening and by seeing the non-verbal signs. These processes of listening, speaking, and observing are the bases of discussion method (Vedanayagam, 1994:78). There are different types of discussion as mentioned by Jerolimek (1986:101):
Discussion methods are a variety of forums for open-ended, collaborative exchange of ideas among a teacher and students or among students for the purpose of furthering students thinking, learning, problem solving, understanding, or literary appreciation. Participants present multiple points of view, respond to the ideas of others, and reflect on their own ideas in an effort to build their knowledge, understanding, or interpretation of the matter at hand. Discussions may occur among members of a dyad, small group, or whole class and be teacher-led or student-led. They frequently involve discussion of a written text, though discussion can also focus on a problem, issue, or topic that has its basis in a “text” in the larger sense of the term (e.g., a discipline, the media, a societal norm). Other terms for discussions used for pedagogical purposes are instructional conversations (Tharp & Gallimore, 1988:76) and substantive conversations (Newmann, 1990).
Discussion methods vary on a number of dimensions. Roby (1988:97) classifies types of discussions primarily on a continuum that relates to whether the teacher or students, or both, have interpretive authority. A secondary dimension is the content of the discussion. Using these dimensions, he identifies three types of discussion. Problematical discussions focus on the solutions to either complex or simple problems in which the teacher is dominant in the discussions. Dialectical discussions focus on expressing, comparing, and refining students (and the teachers) points of view, and the students play a dominant role in the discussions. Informational discussions focuses on controversial issues within an accepting atmosphere, and students have considerable freedom to bring up issues they wish to discuss. At the extremes are two types of what Roby calls “quasi-discussions”: Quiz Shows and Bull Sessions. In the former, the teacher determines the questions to be asked and has almost all the interpretive authority; in the latter, the students have a control over the topic and almost all the interpretive authority. In their 1949 study, Axelrod, Bloom, Ginsburg, O'Meara, and Williams, which was one of the first empirical investigations of discussion, also placed discussions on a continuum that related to whether the teacher or students had interpretive authority.
Gall and Gall (1976:87) classify discussions according to the instructional objectives: to achieve subject mastery, to bring about a change in attitude or opinion about an issue, or to solve a problem. An example of a subject-mastery discussion method is Manzo and Casales (1985:102) Listen-Read-Discuss Strategy. In this method, the students listen to the teacher give a short lecture on the material to be learned, they read the pages of the text on which the lecture was based, and they then discuss questions raised by the text. An example of an issue-oriented discussion method is found in Roby (1983:78): Devils Advocate Strategy. In this method, students articulate their positions on an issue and then take an opposing position and argue against themselves. An example of a problem-solving discussion method is Maiers (1963:95) Developmental Discussion Strategy. In this method, the teacher and students identify a problem, break it into manageable parts, and work on the parts in small groups. The small groups then reconvene as a whole class to discuss their solutions with the teacher.
Discussions about and around texts vary on a large number of dimensions. These approaches serve various purposes depending on the goals from the teachers for their students, defined in terms of the stance towards the text: to acquire and retrieve information (an efferent stance), to make spontaneous, emotive connection to the text (an aesthetic or expressive stance), or to interrogate or query the text in search of the underlying arguments, assumptions, worldviews, or beliefs (a critical-analytic stance). Each approach comprises some type of instructional frame that describes the role of the teacher, the nature of the group, type of text, and so forth. Although the goals of these approaches are not identical, all have the potential to help students develop high-level thinking and comprehension of text.
Most variation across text-based discussion approaches is in the degree of control exerted by the teacher versus the students in terms of who has control of topic, who has interpretive authority, who controls turns, who chooses the text, and the relative standing on the three stances. Moreover, there is a relationship between degree of control exercised by teachers versus students and the stance toward the text. Discussions in which students have the greatest control tend to be those that give prominence to an aesthetic or expressive stance. These approaches are Book Club (Raphael & McMahon, 1994:103), Grand Conversations (Eeds & Wells, 1989:79), and Literature Circles (Short & Pierce, 1990:97). These discussions are often peer-led. Conversely, discussions in which teachers have the greatest control tend to be those that give prominence to an efferent stance. These approaches are Instructional Conversations (Goldenberg, 1992:90), Questioning the Author (Beck & McKeown, 2006; Beck, McKeown, Hamilton, & Kucan, 1997:56), and Junior Great Books shared inquiry (Great Books Foundation, 1987:76). It should be noted that Questioning the Author is the only discussion approach that was designed specifically to help students grapple with the meaning of informational text. Finally, discussions in which students and teachers share control tend to give prominence to a critical-analytic stance. In these approaches, the teacher has considerable control over text and topic, but students have considerable interpretive authority and control of turns. The approaches that fall into this category are Collaborative Reasoning (Anderson, Chinn, Waggoner, & Nguyen, 1998:65), Paideia Seminars (Billings & Fitzgerald, 2002:86), and Philosophy for Children (Sharp, 1995:78).
Other approaches to text-based discussion, not included in the above, are less easy to classify and there is less research on them. These are Conversational Discussion Groups (O'Flahavan, 1989:90), Dialogical-Reading Thinking Lesson (Commeyras, 1993), Idea Circles (Guthrie & McCann, 1996:87) and Point-Counterpoint (Rogers, 1990:45). There are also text-based discussions that have less consistency of application, so they cannot be readily labeled. These include the general class of literature discussion groups based on reader-response theory (see Gambrell & Almasi, 1996:78), discussion-based of literature (Langer, 1993, 1995, 2001), and instructional integrations of writing, reading, and talk (Nystrand, Gamoran, & Carbonaro, 2001; Sperling & Woodlief, 1997). Accountable talk is another approach to conducting intellectually stimulating discussions that, although not specifically designed for discussions about text, has applicability for promoting reading comprehension (Wolf, Crosson, & Resnick, 2004). It comprises a set of standards for productive conversation in academic contexts and forms part of the New Standards Project developed by Lauren Resnick and colleagues at the University of Pittsburgh.
Another dimension on which discussions vary is small-group versus whole-class discussions. In a 1991 study of 58 12th grade students, Sweigart found that student-led small-group discussions produced greater effects on students recall and understanding of essays they had read than did lecture or whole-class discussion. Morrow and Smith, in a 1990 study of kindergarten students who engaged in discussions of stories that were read aloud, reported similar benefits of small-group discussions compared to one-on-one discussions with the teacher or whole-class discussions. Smaller groups provided more opportunities for students to speak, interact, and exchange points of view. Taking into account all available evidence, the best generalization that can be made is that smaller groups are better but they should not be so small as to limit the diversity of ideas necessary for productive discussions (Wiencek & O'Flahavan, 1994).
Yet another dimension is teacher-led versus studentled discussions. The relative merits of these formats have been the subject of debate and some research. On the one hand, the teacher can play an important role in discussion by keeping students on topic and modeling and scaffolding the talk to enhance the quality of their learning opportunities (O'Flahavan, Stein, Wiencek, & Marks, 1992; see also Wells, 1989). On the other hand, student-led discussions can enable students to collectively explore topics more fully and to have more control and interpretive authority (Almasi, 1994). Most probably the question as to who should lead the group is the wrong question. The issue is not so much who leads the group but how much structure and focus is provided while giving students the flexibility and responsibility for thinking and reasoning together (Mercer, 1995). Productive discussions need to be structured and focused, but flexible enough to foster generative learning—and these can be teacher-led or student-led.
Beside explanation above the writer show kind of discussion method, those are group discussion, panel discussion, seminar, symposium, workshop, congress and conference.

According from kind of discussion method above writer used group discussion as the method and used discussion technique from G. Sukadi (1997:86) It is: A. antecedent => moderator open discussion, telling direction and topic and also the target of which wish to be reached, introducing all participant, and also read off discipline B. Forwarding of idea => panelist finish idea, opinion, or experience as according to given time quota C. Free discussion => moderator arrange the way discussion of each panelist and also comments of each panelist D. Hearer participation => moderator please all hearer to tell opinion, comment, inquiring, or commenting. Panelist interrogated or answered to will give answer.

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