Question Time: A simple activity to promote group discussion

Ask students to each think of three topics that might be interesting to discuss. Topics could range from nice weather or favourite foods to the political situation in Uganda, etc. Stress that the subjects are anonymous, nobody knows who contributes which subject.

Students write their topics on small slips of paper, fold them and drop them in a container.

Model the exercise by picking a slip at random and reading it aloud. Ask any questions you like to whoever you like about the topic, let others add their opinions and see where the discussion goes. The person with the cup is the moderator and leads the discussion. As and when the conversation begins to lag, the cup is passed on to the next person who picks out a new topic and further moderates the discussion.

Some discussion topics will be more successful than others, don’t be afraid to put a failing topic out of its misery. Try and pace the activity so that every student gets a chance to be the moderator.

Teaching Online

Instead of using a cup, use the Random Topic Generator. Give students control of the shared screen and for five minutes each student can generate topics which they can either talk about themselves or probe the other students about.

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