Session 7 - Talking about testing - Lesson plan

Last updated 5 months ago

Learning Objectives

By the end of the session students will be able to:

  • Describe different forms of communication and why communication is important

  • Discuss some of the challenges surrounding communication and how to overcome them

  • Explain software testing fluently to others

  • Apply techniques to help generate conversations about testing

  • Evaluate the pros and cons of different communication methods in general

Before the session

Students will be recommended to view the following videos:


Start time

End time


Mentor notes




Introduction to the session

  • Ground rules

  • What we are covering tonight including covering before session learning material

  • Other business




Small group discussion

Students will group with a mentor to discuss:

  • What is Communication

  • Why is it important?

  • How can we communicate?

  • What are the challenges?

Mentors pose the question to the students. Use active listening and ask questions of the students.

Offer your own experience once the students have contributed.

Pen and paper for taking notes



Big group discussion Clinic hosts will encourage the students to share their thoughts and ideas about what was discussed in their smaller groups. Hosts will whiteboard the discussion Clinic hosts will also whiteboard:

  • Different types of communication methods

  • Language and choosing which words to communicate

  • The challenges of communicating

  • Tips on how to overcome the challenges of receiving communication (active listening)

Encourage a student to debrief

Whiteboard, whiteboard pens



Food break



Big group exercise

The Communication Game:

  • Everyone in the group gets a picture which they cannot show to others in the group

  • Everyone can use verbal communication only to describe their picture to others in the group

  • Everyone has to put themselves in order, relevant to the pattern across all pictures

(It's a team game - if a section of people isn’t in the correct order, then the whole team fails)

After the game, the clinic hosts will detail observations along with any mentors who didn’t take part.

If you haven't played the game before - get involved in playing the game.

If you have played the game before - step back and watch. Take notes on observations relating to: What strategy was taken to solve the problem? communication styles used, descriptive words used, leadership in solving the challenge, who talked lots? who didn’t talk much? etc.

Communication Game image cards



Big group debrief

Clinic hosts will encourage the students to share their thoughts about

  • How did that go?

  • What went well

  • What didn’t go well

  • Why didn’t it go well?

  • How the could improve?

Encourage students to debrief




Whiteboard session

Clinic hosts will whiteboard their ideas on:

  • The challenges around talking about testing

  • How we can use different communication methods to help us talk about testing:

  • Modelling

  • Verbal

  • Text

  • Pictures

  • Etc

Using different words to different audiences to help them understand what we mean (e.g. exploration or investigation, checking or asserting, etc…)

Use the fifteen second rule

  • Sit back and let the students submit questions

  • If nobody speaks for 15 seconds, then offer something your group discussed

Whiteboard, whiteboard pens



Exercise: Talking about testing

Students will group with mentors

  1. Students will take it in turns to choose a communication method, and will talk or draw their thoughts on testing for full 2 minutes, without hesitating or deviating away from the subject.

  2. The other students & mentor will actively listen to the information and language used in prep for the debrief

  3. At the end of the 2 minutes, the group will debrief and discuss for a further 1 minute: the topic and language used by the speaker and about the ease or difficultness of the exercise.

  4. Repeat steps 2-5 until each student has spoken about 2 topics each.

Actively listen and control the timer. Guide the debrief sessions.

Feed back to the students on language used, including body language and perceived comfort level, and offer your advice.

Tongue-Tied game cards



Big group debrief

  • Clinic hosts ask each group to share with the other groups about their experiences of talking about testing solidly for 2 minutes

  • How did it feel? Difficult?

  • What body language did people portray?

Encourage a student to debrief first, then give your input.




Wrap up

Hosts will wrap up the session and offer additional activities to carry out after the session on the Ministry of Testing Club forum