How to Write Discussion Questions That Ignite a Debate

How to Write Discussion Questions That Ignite a Debate

Debates are fundamental in developing critical thinking skills, broadening perspectives, and improving student communication skills. Undoubtedly, most students do not know how to write discussion questions that yield debatable and mind-blowing discussions. When designing such questions, one must ensure they catch the students’ attention and oblige them to be creative.

Poorly crafted discussion questions may yield dull and empty discussion boards. This may lead to disengaged students. On the other hand, questions that trigger active forums bring life to an online class. It also reinforces active learning and strengthens critical thinking in students. Our professional writers have provided this guide that highlights how to create engaging discussion questions. They also help students create a topic that will keep everyone in the discussion.

How to Write Discussion Questions that Induce Active Discussions

 Anyone can write a question, but it takes more than writing prompts to create discussion questions to encourage active discussions. If you would like to make questions that help students engage and interact in a discussion, follow these tips;

Write Open-Ended Questions

Open-ended questions guide students’ thoughts without leading to a specific answer. Creating an open-ended question is like a farmer fencing pastures, allowing the sheep to access plenty of grass without letting them go too far. 

The question will allow them to expand their thinking in a specific direction without letting them get out of the question. Here are the qualities of open-ended questions

  • The questions should encourage long answers instead of no or yes answer
  • The question that pushes students into considering specific benefits or purposes 
  • A question that helps students apply information from their view

Here is an example of an open-ended question

Good example

How are global communities and ecosystems adapting to climate change, and what strategies can enhance sustainability amidst its ongoing impacts? (this question is not too broad. It leads students to think about strategies communities are using to adapt to climate change)

Weak open-ended question 

In what ways might climate change affect different areas, and what could be done to address these effects? (The question is too broad.)

Consider the Community

Even after writing a perfect-ended question, expect a diverse array of answers. This is because they will combine their studies and experience to create unique conversations. As a result, each student will become a tutor, benefiting the discussion group. 

Community-based discussion groups provide better feedback. Additionally, these discussions help students grasp new ideas from others, enhancing the learning process. Every student would like to participate in the discussion, so they will put more effort into answering the question. 

Check out how to write discussion questions for the community; consider the following;

  • Does the question add students’ experience to this discussion?
  • Will this discussion question motivate students to give thoughtful responses?

Give more Questions

Writing multiple questions may draw more students to participate than giving out one question. You should write accessible and challenging questions. By this, you can pull more students into the discussion since they will share with their classmates when researching answers to challenging questions. The easy questions will be a discussion group ground for a healthy discussion. 

Create Questions that Promote Divergent Thinking

To promote a healthy discussion group, ensure you write questions that give room to divergent thinking. When you create questions focusing on specific course material, you will kill the discussion before it starts. Remember, an excellent discussion is not about comprehension but shows students’ knowledge and active study participation. 

Here is how to write discussion questions that allow students to ignite their higher thinking:

  1. Evaluate: ask the students to create an opinion and defend it by criticizing or appraising it. 
  2. Analyze: form a question that will lead students in examining classifying and the course materials, then draw their conclusions.
  3. Create: you can ask your students to construct something new from their learning. 

You should avoid closed-ended questions that ask your students to list benefits, explain concepts, define terms, or write characteristics. After listing what is on the question, there’s no more to write or discuss in the essay. Instead, tailor open-ended questions that have a wrong or right answer. This will help each student to give out their perspective.

Offer Incentives

Although offering incentives for every discussion post is challenging, offering points for participation may draw more students. Participation point is the best approach that gives the student a little push to participate in discussion groups. More students will want to join because they know they will be rewarded. 

Polish your Discussion Question Creation Skills

No matter the effort, are you still trying to figure out how to write discussion questions? First, try polishing your discussion question creation skills. Then, ensure the question can stimulate dialogue between students. You should phrase the questions grammatically correct without typos, sloppy formatting, misspellings, etc. 

Ensure you proofread your question before posting it; this will help to correct any errors and structure of the question.

Be Clear

Expressing yourself and clarifying when asking a question is easy when having a dialogue. However, most learners must learn how to write discussions to avoid posting unclear and confusing questions. Strive to create understandable questions. Remember, you want students to use critical thinking and engage in a discussion, so clearly create your questions. 

 You ask your students to discuss what they’ve already learned. When your students discuss what they’ve already learned, it has benefits like;

  • Learners can participate actively, knowing what they are discussing instead of guessing.
  • It reduces the chances of students skipping the discussion since they have something they can share.

Create Engaging Questions

Questions that don’t engage learners lead to empty discussions. Learners may want to engage in the discussion but are uncomfortable; the internet isn’t among the kindest places. So when creating questions, ensure;

  • You use unbiased language: use gender-neutral language; for example, use salesperson instead of salesperson. Using pronouns like they and them may help learners feel welcomed in the discussion.
  • Use smaller groups: although your learner may be confident, engaging in discussions may get unruly. To avoid issues, break discussion groups into smaller ones. 

Need to Know How to Write Discussion Questions?

Most students need help with how to write discussion questions that will spark engagement and diverse responses. You can achieve this in various ways, such as creating open-ended questions targeting the community, offering multiple questions, and promoting divergent thinking. No matter how good you are at creating the question, you must proofread for clarity and avoid unbiased questions.

Even if you don’t know how to create the questions, you can polish your skills and try to be clear. To maximize group discussion, you can split the group into smaller groups. Do you still need help creating good discussion questions? Our essay writers will help you create a topic that will keep everyone in the discussion. Contact us for an estimate, or visit our blog to learn debate topics you can choose from.

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