Town Meeting OVERVIEW

Town Meeting
This discussion format is well suited to large
classes. By creating an atmosphere akin to a town
meeting, the entire class can become involved in
1. Select an interesting topic or case problem concerning your subject matter. Briefly
present the topic or problem as objectively as possible giving background
information and an overview of different viewpoints. If you wish, provide and
documents that might illuminate the topic or problem.
2. Point out that you would like to obtain the class’s own views on the matter.
Instead of calling on students from the front of the room, explain that you will be
following a format entitled “call on the next speaker.” Whenever someone is
finished speaking, that person should look around the room and call on somebody
else who also wishes to speak (as indicated by hand).
3. Urge students to keep their remarks brief so that many others can participate in
the town meeting. Establish a time limit, if you wish, for the length of a speaker’s
turn. Direct students to call on someone who has not participated previously
before or choosing someone who already has taken a turn.
4. Continue the discussion as long as it seems of value.
1. Organize the meeting into a debate. Invite students to sit on different sides of the
room, corresponding to their own positions on the controversy. Follow the callon-the-next-speaker format, with the instructions that the next speaker must have
an opposing point of view. Encourage students to move to a different side of the
room if their votes are swayed by the debate.
2. Begin the town meeting with a panel discussion. Have the panelist present their
own views and then call on speakers from the audience.
*Active Learning:101 Strategies to Teach Any Subject by Mel Siberman
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