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Finding the Discussion Question That Works

I’ve been teaching literature for more than 30 years, and nothing has struck me more during that time than the difficulty of finding just the right discussion question. It’s easy to give out information, which students dutifully take down in notebooks and throw away after the test. It’s not even that hard to do a kind of modified Socratic dialogue, in which you stand in the middle of the classroom and elicit one- or two-sentence responses (you pretty much know these responses beforehand) from select, eager students that you continually call on.

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