Classroom Discussion Preparation Exercise


To prepare for classroom discussion of a book:


First read the entire book. Then, select two chapters of particular interest.


For each chapter:


1. Discussion Points: Write 5 “comments” or “discussion points.”
These can be questions, names, interesting ideas, etc.--things you might underline when reading the book. It’s particularly useful to point out things that turn out to be important elsewhere in the book, or in the course! They don’t have to be complete sentences, and can be sentences of particular interest copied from the book (much as you might underline or highlight something)—if you are prepared to discuss why you selected them!


2. Summary/Assessment Paragraph: Then write a summary/assessment paragraph of about 4-5 sentences.

It’s particularly useful if your paragraph includes remarks assessing the way in which the chapter fits into the book, or contrasts the paragraph with some other textbook or reading you have done.


Remember, do this for each of the chapters you have selected.


3. Assess the book as a whole:

Write one further paragraph of 4-5 sentences about the book as a whole. What do you think are the author's main contentions? What types of information is presented? What types of sources and methods are used? What are the strengths and/or weaknesses of the book? What is the significance of the book: How does the book change the way you think about the issues it discusses?


The main point of these exercises is to guide classroom discussion: please be prepared to hand them in, but the main thing is to be prepared to be asked to read and discuss them in class!