Facilitating Small Groups


Photo by CEASAR Howard University

Research suggests that—compared to traditional large-class lecturing—small group discussions help students improve their ability to comprehend, solve problems, and apply knowledge to new situations (McKeachie, 1986).  Small groups also increase students’ opportunities to enhance their communication skills, practice in a supportive environment, teach and learn from peers, develop teamwork skills, and direct their own learning (Westberg & Jason, 2004).  Consequently, more and more institutions have shifted from an emphasis on lectures to small discussion groups.  If you are transitioning from lecturing, this website will show you how to become the “guide by the side” instead of the “sage on the stage.

McKeachie, W.J. (2004).  Teaching tips:  A guidebook for the beginning college teacher.  Toronto: D.C. Heath.
Westberg, J., & Hilliard, J. (2004).  Fostering learning in small groups: A practical guide.  New York:  Springer.

 Last modified on 6/10/2014