Teaching Plan Elements for Small Groups

Facilitating Small Groups: Elements of a Teaching Plan

Teaching Strategy and Discussion Structure

  • Sequence of topics/pedagogical logic of the session
  • A clear sense of objectives for the session—not only what students will do but what they will learn.

Question Plan

Types and sequencing of questions:

  • information-seeking
  • analytical
  • challenging or follow-up questions
  • action-oriented (what would you do)
  • hypothetical (providing different assumptions)
  • predictive (for comparison with what actually happened)
  • generalizing/drawing together


A strategy to begin—your moment of greatest control.


Anticipating how to move through points or topics.

Group Process

Reflecting on the group’s dynamics thus far, planning for team work, reinforcing relationships, noting problem areas.

Audiovisuals, Boardwork, Other Media

Be acquainted with all the materials you’ll use and how they will work together.


Anticipating where and how you should end.

Getting and Using Feedback

Using formal and informal methods to judge the outcomes of your teaching and the group’s work. Factoring the feedback back into your overall teaching plan.


Adapted from James E. Austin “Teaching Notes,” in Louis B. Barnes, C. Roland Christensen, Abby J. Hansen, Teaching and the Case Method (Instructor’s Guide), 3rd edition, Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 1994 pp. 375-388.