Group discussions were introduced in an introductory physics course at the National
University of Laos. About 200 students discussed two qualitative questions in groups of 3-
4 students. This was followed by whole class discussions. We examined this new method
and identified problems and possibilities with it. Seven groups were recorded and students
and teachers were interviewed. Findings indicate that many students had problems with
mechanics concepts. In the group discussions most students co-constructed an answer.
However, the students in general did not seem to come to an understanding of the physics
concepts, and in class follow-up discussion proved to be an essential tool for a better
understanding. To improve the discussions, the students need more time and should also
be informed about the essentials of working in groups.