Students’ age range: 14-16
Main subject: Language arts and literature
Topic: The education system is failing our students. The system is not diverse enough and does not met the needs of many students.
Description: Before the lesson, students will be told that they will participate in an exercise called a fishbowl discussion. The teacher will ask them to describe an actual fish bowl and its purpose in order for them to make analogies and try to guess why this strategy has been so named. Students may write their thoughts freely on how they think the lesson will proceed. The students will then be shown a short video clip of the fishbowl strategy being used in a classroom. They will be asked to share their views on how they think this can be helpful to them. Again, students will be asked to write their thoughts freely on this. The protocol will be explained to the students and the classroom will be arranged accordingly – five chairs in the middle of the room and the other ten forming an audience around the inner circle. The students will be told to make any necessary notes which they think will help the discussion or which will help them clarify their thoughts. They will be told that they are expected to listen to each other and respect each other’s opinions. If they do not agree or if they have a counter-argument, they must not be judgemental but rather, speak constructively and think about all opinions offered as they try to arrive at their own conclusions. They will be told to try to provide evidence to support their claims. They will be unable to interrupt a speaker and each person must wait until her turn to speak. The topic will be intoduced and all students will be given five minutes to write their thoughts on it. A few articles on the topic will then be circulated among the students in order to help them generate discussion. Students will continue to make notes or write their thoughts and this will continue throughout the lesson. The topic will be displayed on a whiteboard for the duration of the lesson. The first five students will then enter the inner circle and the discussion will proceed. When the students have completed ten minutes within the inner circle, members of the outer cirlce will have an opportunity to ask questions. This will be done for five minutes before the next group takes their place in the inner circle. The lesson will be recorded on an iphone and replayed afterwards in order to let the students evaluate both themselves and the technique. The teacher will intervene as a facilitator when necessary.