Sustainicum Collection

Consus The aim of the project is to establish a regional science-society network for sustainability innovations in Albania and Kosovo in order to strengthen the connection and collaboration of institutions in the field of higher education, research and practice.

Resource facts

  • 5 to 10 students
    More than 10 students
  • Up to 3 lecture units
  • Internet connection necessary
  • English, German

Resource Description

Additional attachments

Hot Seat(Resource ID: 24)

The method Hot Seat requires students to assume a range of roles and perspectives on a studied topic, answering questions from the rest of the group. Exploring new perspectives allows shy participants to actively participate in discussions, allowing them to put forward opinions that differ from their own. This method allows students to convey their knowledge, as well as develop their competency in considering opinions other than their own (critical, holistic thinking).

A volunteer takes the hot seat on a specific topic or issue. The facilitator gives them a card which shows the assigned role. The volunteer is then granted a short time to ‘get into the role’. After this short period (assigned by the facilitator), the group can start to ask questions. The volunteer must answer all questions, staying true to their assigned role. It may be useful to pretend that the volunteer in the hot seat is at a press conference, playing the part of an expert answering the questions of journalists. It is recommended that part of the group keeps minutes of the discussion, so that there is a final written piece of work (quality assurance!). The topic or issue is to be chosen freely. Especially on controversial issues and problems, those students who tend to be quiet or reserved can prove their knowledge: You can either take on the role of an expert or take the role of a questioning group member. Group participants can also get assigned specific roles or perspectives that the others do not know about. So they can ask questions without making their (supposedly) own personality or opinion public. At the content level, an issue may be considered from different perspectives (within the framework of a "press conference"). The group’s prevailing opinions are hidden. It is thus recommended that the method Hot Seat is used at the end of a thematic unit, when different aspects of a subject have been fully explored.

The Hot Seat can also be used to provide feedback. Here, Hot Seat participants each return to the seat, and are provided with feedback from the rest of the group. The host must ensure that the group gives constructive feedback, and that there are no personal attacks. Those on the Hot Seat must listen to the feedback without commenting on it. Group dynamics can also be shown here.

This method is often introduced when it comes to treating controversial topics, such as bullying, multiculturalism, or burnout. Participants may ask all kinds of questions, except questions asking for the reason (why?) because these lead immediately to justification.

Didactical Description of the Method

Under the guise of other people’s perspectives, quiet or reserved participants can prove their expertise on the topic. They can respond to questions without having to sacrifice their own opinion, a position that some may feel vulnerable in. Problems and issues can be examined from different perspectives and supported by arguments. Depending on the chosen environment (e.g. a "press conference", an expert’s talk) the argumentative or persuasive skills of the participants are trained. The method is used as a feedback session, so participants learn feedback giving, effective listening and accepting feedback.

Necessary Material


Type of teaching method
  • Simulation
  • Reflection
Related Teaching Resources
No specific previous knowledge / related resources required
Topics of sustainability
Not tied to any specific content.
Strengths of the method
Learners can fight for an opinion that is not their own. Learners can consider and empathize with foreign perspectives. Learners can examine an issue from a foreign perspective and weigh the pros and cons. They can respond to the opinion of others and use their own arguments in a persuasive way.
Assessment / evaluation
The assessment should be done by a moderator who has not interfered in the discussion. The professional competence, as well as the argumentative skills of the participants should be equally considered.
Funded by
Funded by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Science and Research within the framework of the call "Projekt MINT-Massenf├Ącher" (2011/12)

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MMag. Dr. Elke Lackner


Lackner Elke
This teaching resource is allocated to following University:
KFUG - Karl-Franzens-University Graz


Creative Commons

Type of teaching method

  • Simulation
  • Reflection