Buzz Groups

Rationale: generate ideas/answers, re-stimulate student interest, gauge student understanding

Procedure: These groups involve students engaging in short, informal discussions, often in response to a particular sentence starter or question. At a transitional moment in the class, have students turn to 1-3 neighbours to discuss any difficulties in understanding, answer a prepared question, define or give examples of key concepts, or speculate on what will happen next in the class. The best discussions are those in which students make judgments regarding the relative merits, relevance, or usefulness of an aspect of the lecture (Brookfield & Preskill, 1999). Sample questions include, “What’s the most contentious statement you’ve heard so far in the lecture today?” or “What’s the most unsupported assertion you’ve heard in the lecture today?” Reconvene as a class and have a general discussion in which students share ideas or questions that arose within their subgroups.

Source:  University of Waterloo, Center for Teaching Excellence