Facilitated discussion protocol for reflection
If a large group circle discussion is not your (or your students’) style, use this method to get students discussing in small groups.
Prep work includes choosing questions from the list for student to discuss.
- Writing paper for each student
- Cup or container for each group
- Question Bank Discussion Prompts (for the facilitator)
1. Explain to students that they will take part in a reflection routine with several phases:
- Phase 1: Introduction to the Prompt
- Phase 2: Group Discussion (refer to any group discussion norms that your group uses)
- Phase 3: Individual Writing
The first phase can be a practice round if students are unfamiliar with this routine.
2. Students sit facing each other in groups of three or four.
3. A cup is placed in the center of each team’s work space. Students begin by placing their pencils/pens in the cup.
4. The facilitator posts, or shows, the first reflection prompt such as “What is something that you learned from your crew while you were on your Outward Bound program?”
- This lesson is designed for the students’ facilitator to create their own reflection questions, or choose questions from the Question Bank that will resonate with the group.
- Questions should be broad and without easy answers. If you're using questions from the Question Bank, pick from the Group and Leadership or Extending the Journey sections.
- If you’d like us to suggest questions for each round, we included our ideas in the Facilitator Tips Section
5. Allow a few moments of quiet think time before moving to the next Phase.
6. Begin Phase 2 by saying “Teammates, consult.” With the pencils still in the cup, students take turns sharing their ideas and answers to the question. Students should discuss their answers and seek to come to a consensus on the answer to the question—although this is not required. Students should, however, seek to understand their teammates’ ideas if there is a difference of opinion.
7. After 3–5 minutes of discussion (decide how much time is needed based on the complexity of the question and your observations while circulating), the facilitator will transition students to the next phase.
8. Begin Phase 3 by saying “Teammates, write.” At this point, all students remove their pencils from the cup and write the answer to the question in their own words on their own paper. This is an individual and quiet phase.
9. When the students are finished recording their answers, the Phases are repeated with the remaining questions. Repeat procedure for as many questions as you wish.
- What is something that you learned from your crew while you were on your Outward Bound program?
- What’s more important for a group: getting it done, or keeping group moral?
- Why do you think some people give up when faced with challenge, while others become stronger?
- How do you think our Outward Bound experience has changed us as a group now that we’re back?
Rather than having each student end the round by writing their own personal reflection, you could run this activity in a way that substitutes individual reflection with a group scribe that summarizes the big ideas from the discussion.
- Students gather in small groups of three or four; have each group assign a “scribe” for the first round.
- Teacher poses the question (use your own, or questions from the question bank)
- Allow time for conversation in small groups.
- Teammates should come to a consensus or summary of their conversation and the scribe records it.
- After this Phase, the scribe shares out the group summary to the class.
- Before the starting a new round, a new scribe should be chosen.
- Repeat the procedure for as many questions as you wish.