Formative Assessment Meeting

Meeting with your class during the first half of the semester provides an opportunity to regroup and focus on issues that students are facing.  It’s best to avoid a formal lecture setting as the insights brought by you students are as valuable as anything we could add.  Leading a group discussion can be daunting for those more experienced in didactic formats.  However, a well-lead discussion will not only reinforce important concepts but is emotionally gratifying to everyone involved.  Some tips and techniques for running an effective group discussion include:

  1. Create a warm, inclusive atmosphere; consider putting chairs in a circle or changing the venue to a more informal setting.
  2. Prepare question ahead of time.  An easy starting point is to use journal questions.
  3. Picking a specific incident and limiting generalities fosters deeper learning.  Consider using a gestalt method by centering your questions on three areas. 
  4. What? (a focus on specific)
  5. So what? (What did you learn from this?)
  6. Now what?  (What will you take from this learning?  How will you apply it?