Facilitating Small Groups: Elements of a Teaching Plan

Teaching Strategy and Discussion Structure

-Sequence of topics/pedagogical logic of the session

-A clear sense of objectives for the session--not only what students will do but what they will learn.

Question Plan

-Types and sequencing of questions



-challenging or follow-up questions

-action-oriented (what would you do)

-hypothetical (providing different assumptions)

-predictive (for comparison with what actually happened)

-generalizing/drawing together


-A strategy to begin--your moment of greatest control.


-Anticipating how to move through points or topics.

Group Process

-Reflecting on the group's dynamics thus far, planning for team work, reinforcing relationships, noting problem areas.

Audiovisuals, Boardwork, Other Media

-Be acquainted with all the materials you'll use and how they will work together.


-Anticipating where and how you should end.

Getting and Using Feedback

-Using formal and informal methods to judge the outcomes of your teaching and the group's work. Factoring the feedback back into your overall teaching plan.

*Adapted from James E. Austin "Teaching Notes," in Louis B. Barnes, C. Roland Christensen, Abby J. Hansen, Teaching and the Case Method (Instructor's Guide), 3rd edition, Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 1994 pp. 375-388.