Stimulating Small-Group Discussion Activity 2: Loneliness Might Not Be What You Think

Discussion triads

(This posting includes a handout which you are welcome to use with your students.)

Here is the basis for this discussion: According to research, loneliness has little connection to how many people are around us.  In his book,  Lost Connections,  Jonathan Hari explains that loneliness is caused by a loss of connection to others. To end loneliness, according Hari, we need two things: other people and a feeling that we are sharing something meaningful or something we care about with another person or other people.

This and future discussion activities include four parts:

1) A one-page article usually including a brief summary of a high-interest research study.
2) Ten true-false comprehension questions.
3) Pre-Discussion Exercise in which students read and think about several questions about their experience and opinions about the topic before discussing them in groups.
4) Small-group discussions of the article in which each student is given a paper with different content/personal experience questions in the form of Student A, B or C.

About Discussion Activity 2: Loneliness Might Not Be What You Think and the handout.

Here is an excerpt from the article

8 Hari is concerned that many people today aren’t connected with others.  Researchers asked Americans of all different ages a two-part question: how many people are close enough to you that (1) you could ask for help if something terrible happened to you, and (2) that you could share really good things that happened to you?  A few decades ago, the average number of close friends was three.  Recently, the average was none.

Here are some of the personal experience discussion questions that students will discuss.

Pre-discussion Exercise 2

Think about these discussion questions.  You don’t have to write anything.

  • Do you feel a connection to your family members?
  • Let’s talk about feeling stress and increased heart rates. Do you sometimes feel these?
  • Have you seen the “Nobody can help you except you,” comment on social media? Do you agree with it?
  • Did you ever feel lonely when you were younger?
  • Do you think social media can cause loneliness or can it keep people from being lonely?
  • Think about someone you feel connected to. What do you share that is meaningful or that you are interested in?

Here is the link to the complete activity: Loneliness ART and EX ABC

To make group discussion most successful, see these postings for activities

Conversation magic: Two most important conversation techniques (Part 1)
Conversation magic: Two most important techniques. (Part 2)
Discussion Technique to Get Quiet Students Involved (Part 1)
Discussion Technique to Get Quiet Students Involved (Part 2)

To my readers:
A big thanks to all of you who contacted me about “Stimulating Small-Group Discussion Activity 1: Which Is More Effective: I’m Calm or I’m Excited?”  Your comments have inspired me to continue to make more discussions available.

A request:
If you try this activity out, and if you would like more ones similar to it, could you post a comment by clicking on “Leave a Reply” at the top of the post or by sending me a message by clicking on “How to Contact Me” at the top of the home page?  I’ll be happy to continue to provide more of these.  Thank you!

David Kehe


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