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DISCUSSION  METHOD - 12045_69

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problem situations, challenging statements, and rhetorical  questions  (a  question  to  which  no answer is expected). Another device is the use of suggestions, such as  “I want you to think along with  me,”  and “Consider your reaction to this situation.” DISCUSSION METHOD Discussion methods are effective in getting the trainees to think constructively while interacting with the rest of the group. Conduct discussions with large or small groups; however, small groups are more desirable. You can control and direct a small group more easily than you can larger groups of 10 or more trainees. If a group is extremely large, break it into smaller groups or teams with a discussion leader for each team. The use of the terms class  discussion  and directed  discussion  in this text refer to a method in which you direct and control the verbal exchange of the class. To use this method, first lay a suitable foundation for the discussion by asking one or more challenging questions. Then stimulate  the  trainees  to  discuss  the  basic questions; finally, guide the discussion to a logical conclusion. In the directed discussion, you act as the chairman or moderator. As a result of your questions, suggestions, and redirection of ideas, the trainees in the class become genuinely in- terested in exploiting all angles of the central problem. They forget the normal classroom re- straints and begin to talk to each other as they would when carrying on an ordinary conversation. A true class discussion requires a trainee-to-trainee interchange  of  ideas.  An  instructor-to-trainee interchange of ideas during a typical question-and- answer period is not a class discussion. To conduct a class discussion, you must make more extensive and more thorough preparations than you would for a lecture. Although the trainees supply the ideas, you must have a thorough knowledge of the subject matter to be able to sift out pertinent ideas. Be aware of ideas that may lead the trainees off on a tangent; steer the discussion away from these ideas. Guide the trainees away from irrelevant ideas and toward the  desired  goals  without  dominating  the discussion. You can adapt certain ideas to discussions more easily than others. The most easily adaptable require trainees to compare, contrast, and weigh facts,  concepts,  and  ideas.  They  also  require trainees  to  solve  problems,  particularly  those dealing with human relations, and to glean hidden or obscure information from scattered sources. To receive full benefit from the discussion, the trainees should have some previous familiarity with the subject matter. They could be familiar with the subject matter as a result of outside reading, prior Navy training and experience, or civilian training and experience. To help make the class discussion a success, arrange the classroom in such a manner that you are a part of the group. If possible, arrange for the group to sit around a table so that all of the trainees can see each other and you. Use the discussion method only when classes are small enough to allow everyone a chance to take part. Use the following techniques in conducting a classroom  discussion: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. Build a background for the discussion. The development of an appropriate background tends to focus the trainees’ attention upon the central problem. An appropriate back- ground also limits the problem to an area that can be covered in a reasonable length of time and creates interest in the solution of the problem. Ask  thought-provoking  discussion  ques- tions. Ask questions to keep the discussion in bounds, to bring out the desired aspects of the main problem, and to guide the discussion toward the desired conclusion. Encourage the timid, restrain the talkative, and maintain a standard of discipline in keeping with the maturity level of the trainees. Be  willing  to  accept,  temporarily,  an incorrect idea. A hasty “No!” or’ ‘You’re wrong!” can bring sudden death to any dis- cussion. Avoid expressing your own ideas until the trainees have had ample opportunity to express theirs. Summarize the discussion at intervals. Use the chalkboard for this purpose. Give due credit to the trainees for their contribu- tions.  Clear  up  misunderstandings  and emphasize correct ideas. DEMONSTRATION  METHOD Use the demonstration or “doing” method to teach  skills.  Demonstrate  step-by-step  the procedures in a job task, using the exact physical procedures if possible. While demonstrating, explain the reason for and the significance of each 5-5



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