Fostering a sense of belonging does not have to be limited to icebreakers or trust-building games. Small group discussions around academic material also present opportunities to elevate student voice, build connections between students, and allow them to co-create new knowledge together.
This video resource offers suggestions around how to effectively design and implement student-centered discussions. It emphasizes the importance of relevant content, opportunities for reflection, and clear norms. It also specifically describes a strategy called “co-pilot,” in which students take turns leading and supporting each other during small-group and whole-group discussions.
A thoughtfully orchestrated discussion protocol or activity helps students feel comfortable expressing their opinions and learning from each other, which in turn creates a sense that they are valuable members of the classroom community with important insights to contribute.