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Structure of Participation - Summary

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Participation structures are patterns that guide communication in ways that class members learn to expect.
The four most used participation structures are:
• Lectures
• Questions and Answers
• Discussion
• Group work
Each participation structure has its own set of advantages and disadvantages.
Lectures: Advantages
Material covered quickly
Key terms get fully explained
Lectures: Disadvantages
A lack of interaction from students is likely in this environment
In the case study, few students chose children's play as a topic on the exam

Questions and Answers: Advantages
Assessment of students' grasp on content possible
Questions motivate students to listen
Questions and Answers: Disadvantages
Less content may be covered due to the increase in time needed for student interaction
Students may not listen to other students' questions and their responses
Discussion: Advantages
Easier to see if students care about topic
In the case study, more students chose the topic as term project, meaning there may be an increase in interest for a topic with discussion based learning
Discussion: Disadvantages
It is possible that the louder people in class may take over, and not allow more hesitant students speak
Discussions may not cover all of the points that the teacher intended to be covered
Group Work: Advantages
Students will listen to each other’s ideas, and learn from each other
In the case study, participation in the topic reached its highest point
Group Work: Disadvantages
If there is unease of communication within a group, full potential may not be reached
When groups are planning, the noise level may increase to the point where a conversation is difficult