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Group discussion


Talk in a group

You will have done group discussions in your primary school but may find that now you're expected to research more information. You may be expected to contribute to these group discussions right through the school, although the topics will get more complicated as you progress to S4.


When you know the topic, take the time to prepare your subject. Perhaps you could practise with a group of friends or family members so that you feel more confident about what you have to do. You might like to record the discussion on a cassette and later listen to it, so that you see how to improve it.

Talk to your teacher

Discuss with your teacher how you feel about talking. If you are anxious, ask if you may be the reporter and make notes first of all.

How to act as a group secretary or reporter

It's your job to make notes on what each person says. You need to organise this, as you cannot hope to write down everything. Try to organise your notes under headings. If there is an agenda, you can use those headings. If not, you must make your own headings as the discussion progresses.

Listen carefully to all the arguments on each point. You can ask the chairperson to help you summarise those.

Don't be afraid to ask for a point to be explained again.

Remember to write as clearly as you can and ask your teacher if somebody else could read your notes to the class, while you work to build your confidence.

The next step

This is to be a speaker in the group and try to contribute just a little until you get more confident and are comfortable speaking for longer. You may then have the confidence to be the chairperson. In the first video clip, Alan who stammers contributes to the discussion about school uniform and refers to some notes he has made as he speaks. That can be very helpful, as long as you don't read directly from your notes.

How to act as a chairperson

  • Your main task will be to guide the discussion.
  • Make sure that everyone understands the points that are being discussed. Put them into your own words if necessary.
  • Try not to let one person dominate the discussion.
  • Encourage everyone to take part and to stick to the point.
  • All group members have the responsibility to discuss in a sensible and co-operative way and, occasionally, you may need to remind group members of that.
  • Help the reporter by summing up the main discussion points.
  • In the second video clip, there is some advice from a speech and language therapist about planning and preparing to take part.

By S4 you must show you can

  • Convey information and directions. Respond  to questions from your partner and act as a good listener yourself while your partner talks.
  • Talk about your experiences.
  • Talk about a text you have read
  • Present ideas with evidence and arguments to support them.
  • Give an individual talk with good content and ideas.

You should be able to

  •  Explain. Describe. Narrate.
  •  Explore. Analyse. Imagine.
  •  Discuss. Argue. Persuade.

Don't avoid the situation! Yes, that's right - you've heard your speech and language therapist telling you it doesn't help to avoid thinking about your oral tasks. It's not a good idea to keep putting off working on them. You really have got to think about them, get planning and practising.

No need to panic

  • Remember that you've been developing these skills in primary school up to now. Your teacher will set you tasks that will give you the chance to show these skills.
  • You must talk in different situations as your teacher explains to you.


Emma and Allan who stammer talke part in a group discussion about school uniforms