Your instructor asked you to write two or three questions to discuss the next time your class meets. What do you do so you don’t embarrass yourself?
Ask what a word means.
There is not much for the class to discuss here, just an opportunity for you to access the OED from your school’s library database.
Ask a “yes” or “no” question.
The key part of “discussion question” is the idea that it allows for a conversation to take place. Try to ask an open-ended question that has no immediately obvious answer. Think of it like small talk at a party.
Ask something offensive.
You may think that you’re bringing up relevant issues of gender, race, etc., but be careful how you phrase your question. If you ask “Are women inherently inferior to men?” the answer is obviously no–but now your classmates and your instructor are wondering why you thought this was a valid question in the first place.
Reuse a question from the book.
If your book chapter ends with discussion questions, don’t copy them or rephrase them for your assignment. Your instructor wants you to ask questions you are interested in, not what you think the author of the chapter is interested in.
Ask a question that will engage your class.
Ask an open-ended question that could elicit differing responses. If you ask “Is pollution bad?” most people will say “yes” and the conversation will end. Again, think of your question as a way to start small talk at a party. You don’t ask “How are you?” and have the person reply “Good.” You ask something they have to answer with at least a sentence.
Try to reference the text.
If you’re unsure where to start, you can quote a sentence from the text and ask your class to engage with it.
Come up with alternatives.
If you’re all expected to come up with questions, someone else (or three other people) may have asked your question before the instructor calls on you for your contribution. If you write more than is required, you can offer something original instead of awkwardly mumbling that Maria took your question already.