Leading and Participating in Classroom Discussions

Successful classroom discussions involve more than just asking questions
and letting students answer. This workshop will concentrate on techniques
for promoting constructive discussion and keeping discussions on track.

Classroom DOs

  • Listen to other students’ opinions and take notes.
  • Build on other students’ comments
  • If you agree with what is being said, say so and explain why.
  • If you disagree, say why and never attack the other personally.
  • Ask other students’ questions of clarification.
  • Connect other students’ comments to each other.
  • Talk to the instructor if you are very uncomfortable with participating.

Notes on Leading and Participating in Classroom Discussions

Some Good Conversational “Moves”


US Classroom Culture: What to Expect as an International Student and Teaching Assistant

Navigating the culture of a new university can be daunting, especially when it’s in a different university system than we are accustomed to: the standards of behavior for both teachers and students are likely different in the US than in your home country.  This blog will address the cultural values that have influenced the US university system and offer tips and strategies for leading classes, building rapport with your students, and interacting with your professors.

US Classroom Culture EAP Blog

The Derek Bok Center (Harvard University): Oral Communications Course for International Teaching Assistants

Purdue Online Writing Lab: Useful Transition Words and Phrases

Some Scripts for Interacting with Professors and Students

US Classroom Culture: Dealing with Difficult Situations as a TA

As a teaching assistant, you might find yourself in challenging situations which may be made more difficult if you are not familiar with cultural norms in US universities.  Looking for tips on building rapport with your students and dealing with difficult situations?  Check out the PowerPoint slides!  You’ll also find links to short scenes from the classroom followed by advice from experienced professors.

Difficult Situations as a TA PPT