Become a Moderator
How to Lead a Successful Tuesday Times Roundtable
Choose an engaging article
Pick an article that presents multiple perspectives on the topic. Find an article that prompts readers to ask questions, rather than learn answers. An essential question can be used as the title of the discussion, prompting participants to start thinking before they arrive.
Moderate the discussion
To lead a well-balanced discussion, moderators should follow a few ground rules:
- Be objective. Try not to advocate a position.
- Moderate, don’t participate. Keep the discussion moving forward by summarizing points and posing questions.
- Keep it positive. Maintain respect and don’t let the discussion become personal.
- Keep the group on topic. Address rebuttals through the introduction of new information.
- Ask participants to state their name so that they can make connections with others in the audience.
Extra credit. Offer it and students will come.
OGLI will scan participant IDs and provide you with a list of attendees. Encourage your colleagues to offer extra credit to their students as well.
Begin with an article summary. OGLI will have copies of the article available at the discussion, but some students may not have had a chance to read it beforehand.
Ask a student to summarize to get everyone on the same page. One way to do this is by using the K-W-L method: ask “What did you already KNOW about the topic,” “What more do you WANT to know about the topic,” and/or “What did you LEARN from the article?”
Get students talking to each other. A lively conversation really happens when students are talking to each other, rather than to the moderator. One way to get students talking to each other is using the “Think, Pair, Share” technique. Start the discussion by posing a question or problem associated with the article, then ask students to think about how they would address it. Have them turn to a neighbor and share their responses, then ask people to share what the pairs said. Did they agree? Disagree?
Ask open-ended questions. Avoid rhetorical questions, yes/no questions, and leading questions. DO ask problem solving questions and questions that lead students to apply the issues to their own lives. Ask follow-ups to probe, e.g. What are your reasons for saying that? What other information do we need to know? Is there good evidence for believing that? What do you think the cause is? When you say ___, are you implying that ____? Could you be more specific? What would this look like from the point of view of ___?