Preparing for In-Class Discussions

  1. Know what your main topics or questions are! Your teacher will probably give you a handout or mention in class some themes or topics to be discussed the next day. Use those keywords, phrases, or questions as guidelines for how to take notes and what to pay attention to as you prepare for the next day.
  2. As you read or research, pick out notable quotations or examples. Note these examples down on a separate sheet of paper with page or line numbers so that you can quickly find them during class.
  3. Once you’ve picked the examples that you think will be important, spend some time thinking about what you want to say about these examples. What main themes unite the evidence you have? What questions arose or conflicting information did you find? You might want to jot out some of these thoughts to better prepare you to make these points in class. 
  4. Talk about your readings and the information you’ve prepared with classmates. What questions did they have? What did you find most interesting or confusing? If you practice talking about materials prior to in-class discussions, you’ll feel more at ease and be able to anticipate how other people will respond.