A. Understanding Discussion Method
Discussion methods are teaching methods that are closely related to problem-solving, commonly referred to as group discussion and socialized recitation. Discussion is a responsive scientific conversation containing exchanges of opinions woven with problematic questions of ideas and the testing of ideas or opinions carried out by several people belonging to the group directed to solve the problem and to seek the truth.
Meanwhile, according to Nana Sudjana, the discussion is basically exchange of information, opinions, and elements of experience on a regular basis with a view to obtaining a clearer and more accurate understanding of something, or to prepare and finalize a joint decision.
Therefore, the discussion is not a debate, because debate is a war of words, people argue, argue, and the ability of persuasion to win their own understanding. While in discussion, each person is expected to contribute thoughts so that the whole group returns with a shared understanding. With the contribution of thought from everyone, the group is expected to move from one thought to another, step by step up to the last understanding as a result of the joint work.
The purpose of using the method of discussion is to motivate (encourage) and stimulate (stimulate) students to think with reflective thinking.
B. Types of Group Discussions
Viewed from the point of formality and the number of participants who followed, the discussion can be classified into 4 kinds, namely:
a) Informal discussion, the rule is more lenient than the rules used in other discussions, because of its unofficial nature. The number of participants is not necessarily strictly restricted and is usually only a small group of which one appears as a leader without a helper or representative.
b) Formal discussions, rules that are used as discipline in formal variant discussions are usually tight and neat. The number of students who become participants is generally more even can involve all students. And among the participants elected or appointed as leaders or their representatives, the leader serves as a moderator, while his deputy as a secretary or an assigned reporter records the minutes.
c) Discussion panel, usually followed by all class students. The word "panel" itself means a group of speakers selected to speak. Their main task is to answer the questions of the participants. The rules used in panel discussions are clear, rigorous, and neat, just like in formal discussions. The problem agenda in panel discussions is usually more extensive and is sometimes an accumulation of agenda previously discussed in other diverse discussions.
d) The symposium discussion, its operation is similar to other formal discussions, the difference is only the agenda of problems in the symposium submitted by a target or more. The audience in turn gives a description of their views on the same topic or one aspect of the same topic.
When viewed from the point of concentration of people who play a role in the discussion in school, the method of discussion is divided into 2 patterns, namely:
a. Teacher discussion patterns (teacher-centered)
In teacher-centered discussion, the teacher's role is as follows:
1) Indicators, ie participants who display the agenda of the issues to be topics of discussion;
2) Director, ie the participants who direct the discussion on the agenda of the issues to be discussed;
3) Moderator, ie participants who are authorized to manage traffic of the participants (participant);
4) Evaluator, ie assessors of progress and participation of the participants either as individuals or as a group.
While the participation of students as participants, is as follows:
1) Contributors, ie as contributors of suggestions and thoughts, comparators, and buffers;
2) Evaluator, the appraisal of the level of success of the problem-solving efforts made through the discussion that he followed.
b. Student centrality discussion pattern (student-centered)
In discussions that embrace the focusing pattern of activities on the students, indirect teacher involvement but its role remains important, because it must perform its functions as: 1) Indicators, 2) Consultants (advisers), 3) Encourager, 4) Observer, and Evaluators (reviewers and assessors of participant's activities). The role of the students in the discussion of student centerity patterns are:
1) As a moderator, one of the participants who is considered worthy of leading the discussion,
2) As a contributor, ie contributors in the form of questions, rebuttal, suggestions, and so on.
3) As the encourager, ie the giver of encouragement and opportunity to fellow participants to participate actively contribute,
4) As an evaluator, the assessor of the course of discussion and decisions or conclusions or answers related to problem solving offered by the teacher as a moderator.
C. Steps of Discussion Method
Some things to consider in using the discussion method, which is as follows:
a. Preparation or discussion planning, namely:
1) The purpose of the discussion should be clear, so that the direction of the discussion is more assured.
2) Discussion participants must meet certain requirements, and the amount is adjusted to the nature of the discussion itself.
3) Determination and formulation of issues to be discussed should be clear.
4) The time and place of discussion should be precise, so it will not drag on.
b. Implementation of the discussion, namely:
1) Create a group structure (leaders, secretaries, and members),
2) Divide the tasks in the discussion,
3) Stimulate all participants to participate,
4) Recording important ideas or suggestions,
5) Appreciate any opinions submitted by the participants,
6) Create a fun situation.
c. Follow-up discussion, namely:
1) Making results or conclusions from the discussion,
2) Reread the result for necessary correction,
3) Make an assessment of the implementation of the discussion to be taken into consideration and improvement in future discussions.
D. Advantages and Disadvantages of Discussion Methods
The advantages or benefits that can be taken from the discussion, are as follows:
A. Learners have the opportunity to think;
B. Learners get free training in expressing their opinions, attitudes and aspirations; Learners learn to be tolerant of their friends;
C. Discussion can foster the active participation of learners;
D. Discussion can develop a democratic attitude, can appreciate the opinions of others; and
E. With discussion, the lessons become relevant to the needs of the community.
Meanwhile, according Muhibbin Shah (2008), that the implementation of discussion methods in learning, which can:
a. Encourage students to think critically,
b. Encourage students to express their opinions freely,
c. Encourage students to contribute their ideas to solve common problems, and
d. Take an alternative answer or some alternative answers to solve the problem based on careful consideration.
In addition to the advantages possessed by the discussion method as described above, the discussion method also has flaws or weaknesses, namely:
a. Discussion is too absorbing time, sometimes discussion dissolves with its preoccupation and may interfere with other lessons,
b. In general, learners do not practice for discussion and use the discussion time well, then their tendency is not able to discuss, and
c. Sometimes the teacher does not understand the ways of conducting the discussion, so the tendency of the discussion becomes question and answer.
Meanwhile, according to Muhibbin Shah (2008), that the method of discussion from the surface looks good and very promising optimal results, it also has weaknesses, namely:
a. The course of discussion is more often dominated by clever student participants, thereby reducing other students' opportunities to contribute,
b. The course of discussion is often influenced by conversations that deviate from the topic of discussion of the problem, so the exchange of thoughts becomes careless and long-winded, and
c. Discussion usually wastes more time, so it is not in line with the principle of efficiency.
For that, the effort that must be done by a teacher so that the discussion can run well and work well, namely:
a. The problem should be controversial, meaning it contains questions from learners. The problem, attracting their attention because it is closely related to them,
b. The teacher should position himself as the leader of the discussion, he must divide the questions and give instructions on the course of the discussion. The teacher also acts as a deterrent to the questions posed by learners, and
c. Teachers should pay attention to the discussion so that the teacher function as discussion leader can be implemented properly.