Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Stimulating discussion in seminar courses

Over at Crooked Timber, Chris Bertram has a post on stimulating discussion in smaller seminar-style courses that's provoked many comments. It's worth checking out. I won't add to the comments except to say that I think we greatly underestimate how unfamiliar the discussion-driven seminar is to many students, especially lower-level undergraduates. Much of the challenge for instructors is due to the fact that in such seminars, students are being initiated into a mode of learning that has a set of expectations, both in terms of preparation and participation, foreign to many students. Indeed, I would propose that successful seminars require students to sign on to and practice a distinctive epistemology.

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