Discussion as Community-Building Experience

“Democracy and discussion imply a process of giving and taking, speaking and listening, describing and witnessing—all of which help expand horizons and foster mutual understanding. Discussion is one of the best ways to nurture growth because it is premised on the idea that only through collaboration and cooperation with others can we be exposed to new points of view. This exposure increases our understanding and renews our motivation to continue learning. In the process, our democratic instincts are confirmed: by giving the floor to as many different participants as possible, a collective wisdom emerges that would have been impossible for any of the participants to achieve on their own.”

– from Discussion as a Way of Teaching

by Stephen D. Brook field and Stephen Preskill  

We have provided materials for facilitators to use in preparing for, and guiding, the First-Year Common Reading Experience discussion groups. Feel free to make use of those that seem helpful, as well as bring your own insights, approaches, and disciplinary perspectives to the discussion.

Possible Questions for Discussion

Successful Discussion Strategies