Fishbowl activities offer all learners a defined role in a class discussion: learners either participate in the discussion or observe and comment on the discussion. In this way, learners are able to focus on practicing the skills associated with their role: communication or active listening.

Learners are divided into two groups: a discussion group and an observation group. As the first group discusses a question or problem posed by the teacher, the second group listens and comments upon arguments made.

After the discussions, learners can reflect on the quality of discussion, or the groups can swap roles.

The structure of the fishbowl discussion makes it an ideal activity for learners who may be new to using video conferencing tools. Teachers can establish clear protocols for microphone muting, hand-raising and using chat functions to make comments or offer feedback. This high-tech modification enables learners to continue connecting through face-to-face discussion while learning from home.

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