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Look Inside


The ability to lead a successful discussion in a seminar or course, or as part of key project team, is critical to success in and beyond higher education. Leading Academic Discussions describes the six moves, or parts, of a typical academic discussion and provides many examples of language that can be used to accomplish these moves. A variety of tasks then offers practice for students in the roles of participants and leaders because, to be a good leader, students must first be good participants.  
Although discussions are heavily reliant on words, they are also influenced and affected by other verbal cues, such as pronunciation, stress, pitch, or tone. Because speakers need to both notice and use these cues to make their messages clear to other participants, the text addresses these factors as well. Additionally, non-verbal communication plays an essential role as well, so one chapter is devoted to it.
Throughout the text, reflection questions about leading discussions are provided for those who are or hope to be teaching assistants (TAs) and project leads/managers. Video analysis tasks are included to accompany the six mini discussion videos that are open and available at www.press.umich.edu/elt/compsite/leading.