Basic Template Overview:
5-10 mins. for Whole class discussion ====>
10-15 mins. for Small group discussion ====>
10-15 mins. for group report/summaries and final comments.
Whole Class Discussion ====> 5 – 10 minutes
Part 1 Have a class member read your first quote/highlight & use your questions to open up a short discussion on this topic.
Part 1.5 (Optional) If the talk has a really intriguing story have someone read it or paraphrase it yourself. Parts 1 and 1.5 can be switched with each other.
Part 2: Have a class member read the next quote on your list. Ask your prepared questions to encourage a short discussion on this topic.
Small Group Discussion ====> 10-15 minutes
Please read! All introverts like me dread breaking into small groups. That’s because they’re typically not structured experiences. The following small-group discussion is designed so even introverts will enjoy this. The best part about small groups is people who don’t normally talk…talk. This will maximize how many people have a meaningful experience by the end of class.
Part 1 Divide the class into small discussion groups. Ideal group sizes are 4-8 members per group. I do a quick count and divide by 5 to figure out how many groups to form. They do not need to be exactly the same number of people per group. If you have a really small class, groups of 3 will work.
Part 2 Hand out a sheet of discussion options.** Instruct them to collectively pick ONE option from off the sheet to discuss with each other as a group. This serves as a warm-up so they connect faster. It doesn’t matter if every group picks the same option. The answers will still be varied.
Important – especially for introverts ==> make enough copies so every class member can have their own discussion sheet.
**Discussion Sheet: List your 3 remaining quotes/highlights (not used during whole-class discussion) with multiple questions on the sheet for each quote/highlight. Call the quotes “Option 1,” “Option 2,” etc.
Instruct the groups to pick one option, read the quote together and discuss some or all of the associated questions as a group.
Part 3 Look at the clock, subtract 20 mins. from your end time. Tell them they have until [11:40am] to finish the group discussion. (You want 10-15 mins. to finish up after small group discussion and leave time for the hymn/prayer. If you’re short on time, end small group time 5 minutes later at [11:45am] instead.
Part 4: While the groups are having their discussion, walk to each group and either sit down close or stand by close and listen to their responses for a couple of minutes each group. Unless a group is really struggling, it is best just to be an observer. Pay compliments where natural and appropriate. This will bring comfort to introverts and doubly validate the small-group format.
Part 5: Give them a warning bell when they have five minutes left and again at one minute. Instruct them to select a spokesperson for their group to share the highlights of their discussion.
Group Reports & Final Comments =====> 10-15 minutes
People can stay in their group circles for the final part. It’s less distracting than moving chairs.
Part 1: Ask each group’s spokesperson to share a 1-2 minute summary of their group’s discussion highlights. Make sure to validate and follow-up on a comment or two.
Part 1.5: If you have plenty of time (a good 20 minutes til the end of class), you can also ask each group if there is anyone else from that same group with additional comments after their spokesperson is done. It’s likely you’ll get a comment from other parts of the room without having to ask…this works too. Try to work in as many spontaneous comments as you can.
Part 2: Thank your class for their wonderful participation and how grateful you are for all the wisdom and insight which has been shared today. (Some variation of this and in your own words of course.)
Part 3: End with your best insight, short summary and testimony.
This plan is tried and proven dozens of times! Good luck to you and blessings always.