Class Discussions

Student Needs

  • Opportunity to participate without interrupting others during animated discussion
  • Structure to manage impulse control (i.e. taking up too much airtime)
  • Opportunity to learn to contribute to group discussion without becoming overwhelmed
  • Acknowledgement of the difference between meaningful participation and simply talking a lot
  • Recognition that calling attention to oneself can be anxiety provoking


  • Use a variety of different turn-taking approaches:
    • Popcorn style (anyone can jump in)
    • Raised hands with consideration for those who speak less often
    • Round-robin with the option to pass
  •     Written submission of questions (e.g. live chat or email as the class is unfolding)
  •     Encourage students to write down intended contributions so that they can listen without being distracted by their own thoughts.
  •     Ensure students have the opportunity to prepare their contributions ahead of time (i.e. participation flows from readings).

More about the Mental Health by Design course.