Topic 3 Facilitating effective group discussions

To facilitate effective group discussions you need to be aware of common responses to trauma

To facilitate effective group discussions you need to be aware of which students struggle and observe their coping mechanisms:


Pupils’ behaviour, emotional reactions & look for symptoms of excessive anxiety, distress, sadness and withdrawal from activities and peers.


To what pupils share in the class and collect information to identify their struggles and their needs. Explore whether they have discussed their concerns with their parents/caregivers.

Involve further support

Discuss your concerns with their parents and link them with the relevant mental health support e.g. counselor, helpline etc.

Consider trauma and cultural differences to proactively build relationships and a sense of community

Use circles, groups and other trauma-informed, healing-centered, culturally responsive processes to provide opportunities for students to share their feelings, build relationships and solve problems,

When there is wrongdoing, play an active role in addressing the wrong and making things right

Teach and model healing, problem solving & conflict resolution skills in the classroom or educational setting

Teachers & other educators should consider practicing mindfulness during group discussions. Please see Modules No 1 and No 6 for step by step instructions and practical tools on how to practice mindfulness in class with students.

Religious and cultural implications of mindfulness

Some students or families may express opposition to practices associated with mindfulness due to a belief that it impinges on their religious traditions or that it promotes certain religious beliefs (e.g., Buddhism). Be sensitive to these concerns, but reiterate that mindfulness can be taught in a way that has no religious, spiritual, or metaphysical dimension (Kabat‐Zinn, 2003). The practice of mindful awareness is actually found in almost all the world’s classical traditions and philosophies, and the motivation and justification for introducing it in education is based in medical science