Discussion Leader Guide
Enjoy learning with ThinkND? Consider hosting a ThinkND discussion group. Each week, ThinkND Weekly Digest features virtual events and also shares videos, podcasts, and articles. ThinkND also hosts digital learning and engagement communities, sponsored by a specific campus unit with co-sponsorship by other campus units and the NDAA. These communities explore various themes over the course of multiple weeks. These offerings can facilitate small group conversations. Discuss them in community with others using the structure and questions below.
If you are hosting a virtual meeting, click here for a comparison of Virtual Meeting Platforms.
Welcome and introductions: Let everyone introduce themselves by giving their name and the reason they are interested in this topic.
Share the ground rules: Depending on your group, consider sharing the following ground rules from the Notre Dame Learning | Kaneb Center:
- Listen actively and respectfully.
- Seek to include everyone in the conversation. If you tend to talk a lot, leave space for others. If you tend to stay quiet, contribute so others can learn from you.
- Whenever possible, support assertions with evidence.
- Critique ideas, not people.
- Expect others to have different experiences and perspectives.
- Seek to learn rather than to debate or persuade.
- Be willing to change your perspective based on what you learn.
- Think critically about why you believe what you do.
- Don’t interrupt.
- Don’t assume things about someone or ask them to speak for their (perceived) social group(s).
Go through the discussion questions. As the discussion leader, choose 6 – 8 questions from the list below. Encourage everyone to share and discuss. If necessary, repeat back and help clarify what was said. When the group is ready to move on, read the next question. The goal is not to get through all the questions but to have a substantial discussion that everyone participates in. Skip or add questions as you see fit.
Many of the ThinkND Series themes have discussion questions built into the site pages. Please visit the Series page to see the different themes that have been hosted on ThinkND.
End the discussion. Provide a short summary and encourage participants to put any next steps the group has discussed into action. Provide a prayer or reflective reading, if appropriate. Thank the participants and inform them about upcoming club, group, or NDAA events they might be interested in.
Questions for Reflection & Discussion
These questions can be tailored to any topic.
Discuss information and facts:
- Did you learn something new from the featured content (e.g., article, podcast, video, series event)? How does that confirm or question what you think about the topic?
- What are some of the similarities and differences between the key ideas that were shared through the events, videos, podcasts and articles?
- Assess the cause of the issues raised. What solutions are proposed in the events or posts? Do you have additional ideas?
- Give a real-life example in support of a claim from the events or posts. Are there valid counter examples or counter arguments?
- Do the experts in the pieces provide enough evidence for the positions? Why or why not?
- How do the facts around this topic affect peoples’ lives?
- What are reliable sources to get further information on this topic? Are there any sources mentioned in the events or posts?
Discuss personal implications:
- Do you have any personal experiences that relate to the topic?
- Is this a topic you want to learn more about? Why or why not?
- Did your perceptions of [topic] change based on what you learned and discussed?
- Was there a call to action in one of the events or posts that you are willing to consider?
- Will you look into the topic further? Why or why not?
December 31, 2020