Guidelines for Discussion Leaders

By doing a good job here, class learning by everyone will be enhanced.

 

1.          Maintain a balanced, informal atmosphere.

 

2.          Ask someone before the class to open in prayer.

 

3.          Seek balanced participation by all.   Gently curb over-talkers.   Tactfully draw in the non-talkers by addressing a request to them for their viewpoint.   If necessary, contact attendees outside the class to tactfully keep these goals in mind.   If over-talkers persist in these violations, gently correct them rather than let them take over.

 

4.          When the discussion wanders from the subject, bring them back to the main topic or questions.



5.          Try not to embarrass anyone.

 

6.          If there is silence after a question, go on to the next one.   You don’t have to first “clean up” every point.

 

7.                   Respond to questions by asking counter-questions to help them think it through.   Jesus did this.

 

8.                   Motivate by asking about whether they agree, what something means.

 

9.                   Express your appreciation for their contributions or any participation.

 

10.                   Be sensitive to the reactions of each individual.   Search their eyes.   Watch closely.   Listen carefully.

 

11.                   Keep repeating key questions (use this a lot).   Don’t lecture or preach.   Draw it out from the group.

 

12.                   Don’t fear brief periods of silence if it is obvious people are thinking it over.   Give them time.

 

13.                   Avoid involved questions, side issues, complex doctrinal differences.   Keep it simple.

 


Using Questions in Discussion Groups

 

Learn to be a good questioner, without being a “cross examiner,” like an attorney in court.

 

1.          In addition to questions in the homework, note in advance “backup questions” to help clarify a point.   There are three types of “backup questions”:   observational, interpretive, and applicational.   In other words:   What does it say?   What does it mean”   What does this mean in practical terms in your life?

 

2.          Observation questions are good to draw in participants.   Just have them read a Scripture and answer that they think it means.

 

3.          Interpretive questions seek to bring out what participants think is meant.   Ask them about the preceding or succeeding verses ( context).   Ask if they can think of any other Scriptures that apply on this point.   Ask about certain key words or phrases as to what they think you mean.  

 

4.          Applicational questions seek to help them think in terms of how in practice some principles or examples might be needed in their lives, not someone else’s.   Personal experiences by them, if stated briefly, can be helpful.

 

5.          Study the questions of Jesus in the Gospel.   They are masterful.