Methods For Running Discussions - מתודות להפעלת דיון

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Resource Type: Discussion in: English
Age: 8-20
Group Size: 5-50
Estimated Time: 30 minutes

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Resource Contents



1.       Thought provoking – To encourage the chanichim to think about educational or topical issues

2.       Educating about the issue – To educate the chanichim about a particular topic through learning and clarifying their own ideas, together with other chanichim in the group.

3.       Learning about other opinions, tolerance – Developing skills for listening to other people’s opinions, and tolerance to accept a world view different from their own, through discussion.

4.       Involvement – Get the chanichim involved in different topical issues.

5.       Peer learning – Create a peer-learning opportunity for the chanichim through examining a particular issue.


1.       Clear presentation – It’s important to present the topic for discussion in a clear and fair way, as well as the question that is up for discussion.

2.       Keep the tension – Keep the tension throughout the discussion by adding layers and provoking arguments.

3.       Directing the discussion – Make sure the threads of the discussion are connected at all times, that the discussion is focused and organised by summarising frequently and involving the chanichim.

4.       Keep the chanichim involved – Make sure that all the chanichim are involved as much as possible. Try getting each chanich’s opinion.

5.       Limit private discussions – Keep the chanichim focused as much as possible by avoiding private discussions on the side that create noise and can be distracting.

6.       Culture of speaking – Make sure that the chanichim listen to each other through tolerance and patience.

7.       Topical issue – It’s important to use a topical issue that is relevant to the chanichim so that they can have an opinion about the topic.

8.       Documenting – You can write down the different opinions presented by the chanichim on a big cardboard or on a computer/projector to consolidate opinions and allow the chanichim to refer back to them. On Shabbat you can do this by summarising the opinions, or repeating it after the chanich to the rest of the group.

9.       Silence is okay – Allow for a few moments of silence for the chanichim to think about the question and consider their opinions.

10.   Inclusiveness – Try and include the more quieter, passive chanichim making sure not to make them feel uncomfortable or embarrass them. You can do this by asking for participation from their side of the room or ask them directly.

Stimulating a discussion:

-          Tell a personal story

-          Role playing

-          Video clip

-          Newspaper article or picture

Methods for running a discussion:

1.       Ruler of values – Set up a ruler on the floor from 1-10. On one end of the scale put “agree” and on the other end “disagree”. Each chanich has to take an item of theirs and put it along the scale based on his opinion. The madrich can lift up items and the owner of the item has to explain his opinion.

2.       Hot seat – Put two chairs in the middle of the room – one says “agree” and the other “disagree”. Separate the chanichim into two lines and give each chanich a number. Call out a number and read out an opinion on the topic. The chanichim with that number races to the chair that represents their opinion and they have to explain it.

3.       Relay race – Stand two equal groups of chanichim in lines. Each group has to run to the wall and write on the paper and argument against or for the question that was asked. The group that finished first and that has the most arguments wins.

4.       Yes/No signs – Give each chanich a piece of paper that says “yes” on one side and “no” on the other. The chanichim must hold up their paper depending on their opinion when the question is asked. You can also do the same thing by sticking a “yes” paper on their front and a “no” paper on their back. They have to stand in the way that represents their opinion.

5.       Two circles – Stand the chanichim in two circles, one inside the other and the inner circle facing the outer circle. Present a question and each pair of chanichim that are facing each other must discuss their opinions. For the next question, the inner circle rotates clockwise so that the chanichim are in new pairs.

6.       Stickers – Put a number of statements on the wall. Give each chanich a sticker which they must stick on the statement that they most agree with. Then discuss which statements were most/least popular and why.

7.       Spin the bottle – Sit the chanichim in a circle. Ask a question for discussion and spin a bottle in the middle of the circle. The chanich with the bottle pointing towards him must answer the question and explain.

8.       Zip-Zap Discussion – With the Chanichim sitting in a circle, the madrich asks a question and then says Zip or Zap. Zip means the chanich to their right must answer the question. Zap means the chanich to the left.

9.       Appointment book – Give each chanich an appointment book with 5 minute slots. The chanichim have to fill up their appointments by booking a time with another chanich. For each meeting, present a question for discussion that they must dicsuss.

10.   Source from the Torah – (for older groups) Bring sfarim that deal with the topic at hand and hand them out between the groups. Each group has to bring a source from their sefer that represents the opinion of the book.

11.   Black and pink glasses – Give each chanich two pairs of glasses, made of cardboard – one pink and the other black. When they put on the pink glasses they have to make an argument for the topic, and when they put on the black glasses they have to make an argument against.

12.   Court case – Set up the room like a court room. Allocate tasks to each chanich: defendant, prosecutor, judges, jury (make sure each chanich gets a job). Present a question for discussion and put it up for trial. It can be helpful to prepare points for the prosecutor and defendant to open with.

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