Before, During and After Group Crits and Discussions.
“David’s first language is Spanish. He is a confident speaker but finds he cannot keep up in group discussion during crits in the studio. This is confusing for him as he can normally contribute towards group discussion. He often understands a lot of what is being said but struggles to get an overall sense of what the discussion is about, and by the time he formulates a question, feels the debate has moved on.”
Before the discussion
- Ensure you understand the purpose, structure and aims of the activity, so that you are clear about what is expected from it. This information should be available in written format prior to the activity.
- If the discussion is assessed, ensure you are aware of and understand the assessment criteria. This information should be available in written format prior to the activity. You can discuss this activity at Speaking your Mind, and clarify any questions you may have.
- If the discussion is based on a students work, try to view the work and prepare written questions.
- When presenting to a group, in a crit, prepare a structure for presenting your ideas. You should prepare this in advance, and can discuss or practice in Speaking your Mind.
- Perhaps appoint note takers, pool written notes and make these available following the discussion, ideally on CANVAS
During the discussion
- If the student group gives permission, it’s a good idea to audio record discussions for further self-study. Could group discussions be routinely recorded and made available on CANVAS?
- It is OK to state what you think has been said for clarification. For example, “Do you mean….?”, and ask and confirm the meanings of key terms.
- Try not to worry too much about having good grammar. Aim to communicate what you mean, but remember that this is sometimes difficult even for native speakers.
- Remember you have experience that is likely to be quite different to your peers. It is an exciting part of study at GSA to learn about different perspectives and experiences in relation to areas and topics of study. Students from around the world have practiced talking about their experiences in Speaking your Mind.
- It is OK to say you don’t understand, or to ask for something to be presented again, or perhaps explained. One way of doing this is to say, “Do you mean…?”
After the discussion
- Ask your tutor if a summary of key points can be made available, in writing – or perhaps compare notes with other students and your tutor for confirmation of key points.
Your tutor will appreciate if you let them know you are struggling with discussion, perhaps you could suggest to your tutor anything that might help you to engage better.