Keeping Conversations on Topic

The Importance of Keeping Sessions on Topic

While building rapport is an important aspect of creating positive, and engaging learning environment, the main focus of our non-enrichment sessions is to foster academic conversations. Straying from an academic focus can significantly impact the learning experience for all participants. It introduces unnecessary distractions, and can also alienate learners who have questions they are waiting to ask.

Schoolhouse community members should maintain a strong commitment towards minimizing non-academic conversations during academic focused sessions.

What should I do if my learner is deviating from the session topic?

Check on how your learner is doing or briefly discussing something that interests both of you is generally fine, and can help create a comfortable learning environment. However, if the off-topic conversation extends beyond the 5-minute mark, it's time to gently steer the discussion back to the academic focus. Here are some good strategies:

If possible, redirect the conversation by linking the current discussion to the academic topic. For example, "I appreciate your thoughts on that. It actually connects well with what we were discussing about [topic]."
Encourage learners to ask questions or share thoughts related to the academic focus. This helps channel their curiosity back into the subject matter. “Anyways, I want to make sure I address all your questions before the end of our call - is there anything else you feel like we should cover?”
Be honest! If done right, it’s always appropriate to let the learner know the session is deviating from its focus. “I want to make sure we stay on track! It’s important that you leave this session feeling accomplished!”

Updated on: 02/02/2024

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