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You will be asked to either create discussion questions or do web or library research for each of the focus texts we read. Carefully read the text before undertaking your assignment. Bring a one page handout with enough copies for all class members.
1. Discussion Questions
Write five to ten high quality discussion questions about the focus text that we can use in class to help us better understand the focus text.
Guidelines for discussion questions:
1) Good discussion questions are not answered by "yes" or "no." Instead they lead to higher order thinking (analysis, synthesis, comparison, evaluation) about the work and the issues it raises.
2) Good discussion questions call for more than simply recalling facts or guessing what the teacher already wants to know, but are open-ended, leading to a variety of responses. Good questions recognize that readers will have different perspectives and interpretations and such questions attempt to engage readers in dialogue with each other.
3) Good discussion questions depend on a careful reading of the text. They often cite particular scenes or passages and ask people to look at them closely and draw connections between these passages and the rest of the work.
4) Good discussion questions are simply and clearly stated. They do not need to be repeated or reworded to be understood.
5) Good discussion questions are useful to the students. Good questions can help to clarify passages or issues students may find difficult. They help students understand cultural differences that influence their reading. They invite personal responses and connections.
6) Good discussion questions make (and challenge) connections between the text at issue and other works, and the themes and issues of the course.
2. Web Site Information
For each of the focus texts that we read several students will be asked to gather information from the web that will be useful to our understanding of the text under consideration. This information could be on the text itself, the author, the themes of the work, specific and relevant historical background, etc. Bring to class a list of at least five quality web sites and be prepared to speak briefly on the information you have gathered. The web information you gather may be especially useful to the students who will be developing web pages related to this focus text.
3. Library Research
For each of the focus texts that we read several students will be asked to gather information from the library that will be useful to our understanding of the text under consideration. This information could be on the text itself, the author, specific literary criticism on the text, the themes of the work, specific and relevant historical background, etc. Include an MLA search in your library research. Scholarship that addresses postcolonial dimensions of the focus text will be especially interesting to us. Bring to class at least three quality articles or books and be prepared to speak briefly on the about them. The library information you gather may be especially useful to the students who will be developing web pages related to this focus text.
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last modified: January, 2001.