According to Yoakam and Simpson, a socialised recitation technique or discussion method is the one wherein “Children are discussing, questioning, reporting, and working in natural ways.
The teacher is a guide, counselor, advisor, contributor and director in the best sense of the word, trying to get children discover things by themselves rather than to have them by merely listening to them.”
It is a technique of teaching in which a friendly spirit of cooperation prevails. Children discuss the various social, economic, cultural, political and moral problems and discover for themselves the real meaning and significance of these.
Discussion is one of the most valuable techniques in the teaching of history. It aims at finding the solution of a problem through the establishment of agreement or consensus. Discussion is a sharing and weighing of the sides: which are as many as there are conflicting interests and opinions. It is a process of collective decision making. It seeks agreement, but if it is not reached, it has the value of clarifying the nature of disagreement.
Discussion as a method of teaching history may be used for the following purposes:
1. For preparing plans for new work.
2. For making decisions concerning future action.
3. For sharing information and reaching a collective decision.
4. For tolerating and obtaining respect for various points of view.
5. For clarifying ideas and concepts.
6. For inspiring interest.
7. For evaluating progress.
8. For stimulating thinking.
9. To minimize the social distance between the teacher and the students.
10. To provide training for collective decision-making.
Discussion may be informal or it may assume some such form as debates, a symposium or a panel discussion. Any one of these forms can be profitably adopted.
Procedure of the Discussion
The procedure of Discussion may be divided into the following three steps :
1. Preparation for Discussion.
2. Conduct of Discussion.
3. Evaluation of Discussion.
Preparation for Discussion
To conduct the discussion properly and effectively, thorough preparation for the same is a pre- requisite. The topic of discussion may be decided upon and the students may be provided with the names of the reference books and other reading-material from which the students may read the relevant material in order to take part effectively in the discussion.
Conduct of Discussion
This implies holding the discussion in a successful manner. The discussion should be systematic and disciplined. The arrangement of seats should be such as to permit face-to-face conversation. The teacher should see that everybody cooperates and takes part in the discussion. A few students should not be allowed to dominate the discussion. The discussion must result in some sort of an agreement.
Evaluation of Discussion
After the discussion, the main arguments raised during the discussion must be summed up. The advantages and the limitations must be thoroughly weighed and evaluated. The outcomes of the discussion must be properly assessed, and lessons and guidelines must be drawn to make the discussion more effective and successful in future.
Role of the Teacher
The success of Discussion Method depends greatly on the teacher who is supposed to be a guide-cum-counselor-cum-advisor. He should ensure that every student participates actively in the discussion, and makes his own contribution for the solution of the problem under discussion. He is also to maintain proper discipline, and see that the students should not go away from the topic under discussion.
The teacher is the leader of the discussion and must guide the students without using his authority. He should see that the discussion is a cooperative experience, not a competitive quarrel. He must discourage any personal attacks and must seek to bring the participants to focus their comments on the proposition and not on the person. The teacher is responsible for retaining control of the class and is responsible for seeing that the discussion makes progress. Thus, the success of Discussion Method mostly depends upon the teacher.