Facilitating a Teacher Study Group
Sample Outline for Study Group Sessions
This is a sample outline for a 2-hour study group session exploring the
language development and literacy instruction sections of “Classroom
Instruction: Questions and Answers.” The outline is offered only as a suggestion
for the facilitator, rather than a protocol to be followed.
Topic: Language and Literacy Development
Duration: 2 hours
- Compare views and experiences about language and literacy teaching in two-way immersion
Raise questions for further exploration about language and literacy teaching in
two-way programs immersion.
Pre-Reading (30 minutes)
Begin the session by telling group members that they will be reading a series of questions
and answers about teaching language and literacy in two-way immersion programs.
group any background information they may need about the reading material and
Ask the members what questions they expect to be posed in the readings.
members about their experiences with these issues.
Reading (20 minutes)
group members read the language development and literacy instruction sections of
the Q&A document for classroom instruction.
Discussion (60 minutes)
- Ask the group which of the issues addressed in these sections pertain to
them and their program. List the topics on chart paper.
- Have the group choose the four most important topics.
- Divide the group into four groups by topic. Have each
group choose a note-taker who will report back to the whole group. Ask each group to discuss its topic in
terms of four questions:
does the reading have to say on the topic?
- Do you
agree with the reading? What is your evidence in support of your opinion?
- How have
you dealt with this issue in your program?
there any additional issues related to this topic that the whole group
- In the
large group, have each note-taker report on the small-group discussion in terms
of the four questions. As facilitator, record the results on chart paper. In
particular, note additional questions to be explored.
- Ask the
large group for questions and reactions. Facilitate any discussion that follows.
Activity: Suggestions for the Next Study Group Meeting (10 minutes)
As a group,
decide the activities for the next study group meeting. Ask the group whether
they need to plan follow-up to this discussion. Do they want to get more
information? If so, who will find it and where will it be found? How will the
information be used by the group?
If members want to further explore additional questions and issues, the group
can select texts for group discussion. texts from either the additional
resources sections in the Toolkit or from other sources. See below for
“Guidelines for Discussing Professional Literature”.
appropriate, ask for a volunteer facilitator for the next meeting.
for Starting a Study Group
include 6 to 12 members.
- They are
school-based, or they bring together teachers from partner schools.
meet frequently (e.g., twice a month for two hours).
are open to all teachers in the program and others who want to support it.
- Membership in the group is voluntary, but strong incentives are offered.
- To help
members make the transition from traditional professional development
experiences, initial study group meetings focus on developing group norms
and discussing expectations.
- Leadership and accountability are shared, and sessions are interactive. All
members are responsible for preparing for meetings, attending each one,
contributing to activities, and taking turns facilitating the work if the
group decides to organize themselves in that way.
process is democratic. Group members are responsible for voicing concerns
and proposing solutions.
members build knowledge about two-way immersion using professional
literature and evidence from their own practice. Group members define areas
for which they may need to contract outside professional development
group uses sustainable learning strategies that are tied to essential
dimensions of appropriate instruction for diverse students. Productive
strategies include, but are not limited to, examining student work,
carefully observing classroom practice, and reading and discussing
for Discussing Professional Literature
- Select a
book, article, or other resource that has broad appeal to the group. Candidates
can be found in association newsletters, professional journals, Education
Week book reviews, or the Internet. Any group member may suggest or select a
possible, bring potential books or articles to the study group so that group
members can skim the text.
- Once the
reading is chosen, establish a timeline indicating when it will be discussed in
the study group. For example, if a study group meets twice a month for a total
of 4 hours, the group could dedicate 1 hour per meeting to discussion of
- Create a
facilitation schedule. Have study group members volunteer to facilitate a
discussion. All group members are responsible for doing the reading, but
facilitators must read the selection with great care in order to facilitate the
can begin the discussion by posing an open-ended question to the group, such as
- What was striking about this reading?
- What new ideas did you learn from reading it?
should make sure that all group members participate in the discussion,
encouraging quieter ones to speak and discouraging any group member from
dominating the conversation.
- Facilitators may close the discussion by asking the group what new questions they have as a
result of talking about the reading.
- Before ending the discussion, the facilitator may ask for a volunteer to facilitate the