#9: Visual Lists

(Paulson & Faust, 2006)

Purpose: Students typically can generate more comprehensive lists working in groups than they can alone. This method is particularly effective when asking students to compare views or to list the pros and cons of a position.


  1. Have students make a list of opposing points or arguments on paper or on the blackboard. One technique that works well with such comparisons is to have students draw a “T” and label the left and right-hand sides of the crossbar with the opposing positions (or “pro” and “con”). Students then list everything they can think of to support these positions on the relevant side of the vertical line.
  2. Once students have generated as thorough a list as they can, the instructor can ask them to analyze the lists by asking questions that are appropriate to the exercise.


Tip: This activity would work well in a large scale classroom. Showing students an example of the structure they should create with examples on the screen or board would be helpful for clarity. Student board work would not work well in a large scale classroom but paper and markers would work well. You could have a large group discussion, asking each group to share one “pro” and one “con”. You can collect the papers at the end of the class to ensure that you have a good sense of the discussions that occurred. These pros and cons can be tabulated and you can follow up with discussion either online or in class the following week.