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Volume 9, Issue5September 1996

About the Observer

Published 6 times per year by the Association for Psychological Science, the Observer educates and informs on matters affecting the research, academic, and applied disciplines of psychology; promotes the scientific values of APS members; reports on issues of international interest to the psychological science community; and provides a vehicle for the dissemination on information about APS.

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Practice


  • Class Discussions: Promoting Participation and Preventing Problems

    "I tried to have a discussion today, but hardly anybody said anything. You'd think a class of 95 students really would get into arguing about theory XYZ." Sound familiar? It's a common and chronic refrain of professors around the country. And many attempts to inspire class discussions use the following format: The instructor lectures, then pauses, and then asks the class "What do you think about X?" Most students either try to look busy, continue to read the newspaper, or wait for this minor irritation to pass so they can continue to take notes. The only advice we have for instructors using this approach is: Don't bother! Goals of Class Discussions A discussion is an exchange of ideas where all members of the group have an opportunity to participate and are expected to do so to some degree.