Friday, April 6, 2012

Literature Discussions with Full Participation II

Question: What is the Great Books Method of ‘Shared Inquiry’?

The Great Books Foundation’s ‘Shared Inquiry’
I encountered the model for good literary discussions when I took the Great Books training course. It changed forever the way I organized discussions. The key to good discussions, according to Great Books, was the requirement that the group leaders, in formulating the questions, could ask only questions about which they themselves had some element of doubt as to the answer. The Great Books Foundation calls its discussion technique ‘Shared Inquiry,’ because everyone, even the leaders, shares in the discussion.

However, the Great Books program requires discussion leaders, not the students, to formulate the questions and insists that the literary work should have no introduction, that the students should just begin to read without any preparation. I disagreed with both restrictions. Therefore, I have used their technique with some modification, and it worked for me.

Next Blog: Making Sure that Students Read the Assigned Work.

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