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Discussion as a Way of Teaching: Tools and Techniques for Democratic Classrooms, 2nd Edition

Discussion as a Way of Teaching: Tools and Techniques for Democratic Classrooms, 2nd Edition

Stephen D. Brookfield, Stephen Preskill

ISBN: 978-1-118-42975-4 June 2012 Jossey-Bass 336 Pages




Thoroughly revised and updated, the second edition of the landmark book Discussion as a Way of Teaching shows how to plan, conduct, and assess classroom discussions. Stephen D. Brookfield and Stephen Preskill suggest exercises for starting discussions, strategies for maintaining their momentum, and ways to elicit diverse views and voices. The book also includes new exercises and material on the intersections between discussion and the encouragement of democracy in the classroom. This revised edition expands on the original and contains information on adapting discussion methods in online teaching, on using discussion to enhance democratic participation, and on the theoretical foundations for the discussion exercises described in the book.   

Throughout the book, Brookfield and Preskill clearly show how discussion can enliven classrooms, and they outline practical methods for ensuring that students will come to class prepared to discuss a topic. They also explain how to balance the voices of students and teachers, while still preserving the moral, political, and pedagogic integrity of discussion.

Preface to Second Edition.

Preface to the First Edition.


The Authors.

1. Discussion in a Democratic Society.

2. How Discussion Helps Learning and Enlivens Classrooms.

3. Preparing for Discussion.

4. Getting Discussion Started.

5. Keeping Discussion Going Through Questioning, Listening, and Responding.

6. Keeping Discussion Going Through Creative Grouping.

7. Discussion in Culturally Diverse Classrooms.

8. Discussing Across Gender Differences (Written with Eleni Roulis).

9. Keeping Students’ Voices in Balance.

10. Keeping Teachers’ Voices in Balance.

11. Understanding the Dynamics of Online Discussion.

12. Creating the Conditions for Online Discussion.

13. How Theory Can Inform Discussion Practice.

14. Discussion Groups as Democratic Learning Laboratories.

15. Evaluating Discussion.