Most teachers know that discussions can catalyze student understanding but discussions don’t always happen the way we hope they would. Why are classroom discussions often so challenging? What can teachers do to improve them? What do we know about why they matter?

Learning Through Discussion and Disagreement begins by revealing what classroom discussion is and isn’t and defining what makes a classroom discussion successful. Professor Snow then provides research evidence for the value of classroom discussion and explains why it can be so effective—and why there is too little of it in most classrooms. Finally, participants will explore strategies for getting started and make plans to engage their students in the classroom.  

Participants will learn tools and tips from the online lessons that they can weave directly into practice in their classrooms or schools. By completing the program, you will be able to:

  • Understand the research about classroom discussion and debate
  • Understand the role of classroom discussion in building robust understanding, while learning why it can be so challenging
  • Apply new strategies to improve and enhance classroom discussion and debate

The self-paced online instruction, discussions, and job-embedded practice should take five to seven hours over the duration of the program. Participants who complete all individual assessments and contribute to group discussions will receive a certificate indicating completion of five clock hours of instruction.

Meet The Faculty

Catherine Snow

Catherine Snow

Patricia Albjerg Graham Professor of Education

An expert on language and literacy development, Catherine Snow’s work focuses on how oral language skills are acquired and how they relate to literacy outcomes. Her research includes studies of language and literacy development among low-income children, children in the Early Head Start intervention, and first- and second-language learners. She is currently partnering with public schools in Massachusetts and Maryland to improve middle-school literacy outcomes.

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