Child, Youth, and Family Studies, Department of


Date of this Version



Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, Vol. 13, No. 3, August 2013, pp. 23 – 32.


Research consistently demonstrates the benefits of employing classroom discussions; however, there has been less attention given to teaching students about discussions. The current research compared 2 advanced social psychology courses: 1 without (control) and 1 with (experimental) a week devoted to learning about and discussing discussions. Several different indicators showed marked improvements for the experimental group as compared to the control group. The differences between the two classes were particularly noticeable at the beginning of the semester. Even though the control group was able to eventually obtain similar scores, the differences at the beginning of the semester suggest that students in the experimental group benefitted early from the experimental condition. Additionally, measures provided directly by the students demonstrated higher ratings of self-assessment and course evaluations for students enrolled in the experimental class.