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Abstract

This essay explores teaching techniques that seem to go against discussion-based pedagogy but ultimately achieve what we believe to be more productive forms of student discussion. Egle, Navarre, and Nixon describe how experimenting with new models of discussion has led them to define discussion as storytelling, as craft, and as idea-invention. Navarre explains how and why she uses storytelling to encourage multiple levels of engagement with texts, using interspersed narrative that aims to “people” the classroom with authors. Egle explains his commitment to discussion as a form of craft, examining how taking topics “off the table” and limiting the direction of student work helps promote fuller conversations. Affirming discussion as a form of idea-invention, Nixon wants students to take responsibility for that process of invention and explains using evaluated discussion and pre-structured discussion. This essay describes specific discussion-generating techniques in order to explore how we hope to unsettle the classroom in productive ways and, in doing so, to unsettle some of our “usual” ways of thinking about discussion.

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