By: Brynne Diggins
NORTHFIELD, MN—Using the time-honored technique to get students to engage with course material, Professor Allen broke his class into small discussion groups last Thursday.
“I expected everything to go pretty normally,” said Allen. “Students tend to exchange ideas without fear when the pressure of large group scrutiny is mitigated.”
One small group was included John, Mike, Ted, and Jen. Witnesses in peripheral groups that day overheard multiple students participating in discussion.
“Actually,” said one witness, “It seemed like Jen was making all of the best points. The guys just kind of nodded along.”
When it came time to bring ideas back to the large group, John designated himself as the speaker for the group and was able to repeat every point Jen had made before she could offer her own ideas to the class.
“I was certainly very impressed by all of the points John brought up in discussion,” said Allen. “Although it seems like he hasn’t ever done the reading, somehow small group discussions just bring out the best in him and I’m always happy to have him participate in the large group.”
“I think we have a great group dynamic” said John.
When Jen was asked about how she thought the class went, John responded: “One thing our group talked about was that the classroom environment seemed open to new ideas. I think that discourse is often obscured by expectations, but we can resolve this by having clear communication and asking questions.”
Jen was unavailable to comment as her ideas had already been stated.