Many of us — even those of us who are committed to learning through inquiry, or active learning —struggle to orchestrate rigorous and productive discussions around challenging academic texts (articles or book chapters). To address these struggles, we brought to Clark two internationally recognized educators who are experts at leading whole group discussions – in university settings. The workshop leaders are Don Whitfield, Director of Higher Education at the Great Books Foundation and Sophie Haroutunian-Gordon, Professor of Philosophy and Education at Northwestern University, and author of "Learning to Teach with Discussions: The Art of Turning the Soul" (in press, Yale University Press).
The workshop is open to 30 faculty, and advance sign-up is required. The workshop will cover:
• An overview of "Interpretive Discussion" (sometimes referred to as "Shared
• Techniques to get students ready, by marking up their texts (with factual, evaluative, and interpretive questions);
• "Sharing interpretive questions" among students, as a motivator for deep reading and preparation for discussions;
• Techniques and strategies for getting prepared as instructor: how to move from interpretive questions to an opening (or framing) question that gets at a place of genuine doubt for you as discussion leader, as well as techniques for developing a set of cluster questions.
• Facilitating a rigorous, coherent, and equitable discussion: Productive follow-up questions to keep things moving at a high level.
This workshop was conducted by Clark Professors Matt Malsky and Sarah Michaels.