London Metropolitan University Research Institutes

A gathering of equals: a workshop of how to create communities of democratic enquiry in the classroom

Author(s) Katner, Garth and Temes, Peter  
Publisher CiCe Publications  
Year 2002  
Editor Future Citizens in Europe Ed. Alistair Ross  
Language English  
Age group -  
The Great Books Foundation is a non-profit, educational organisation that helps children in grades K-12, develop critical-thinking skills by encouraging a lifelong love of literature. We train teachers to lead book discussions using the Shared Inquiry Method. We also publish teacher editions and interpretative reading, writing, This workshop will give its participants the opportunity to view how the Shared Inquiry Method can be used build communities of truly democratic inquiry in the classroom. Participants read short selections from the foundation's democracy anthologies for high school students: And Justice for All, The Will of the People, and A Gathering of Equals. They then discuss potentially contentious raised by the presenters using this research based discussion method. During the discussion, participants test ideas. Ideas that are later disproved or abandoned are not considered mistakes, but valuable parts of inquiry. Everyone collaborates for a better understanding of the issues discussed and while they may disagree with one another, they treat each others ideas respectfully. Ultimately, the group need not reach agreement. Rather the goal is to explore a number of possible interpretations. As a result, the Shared Inquiry Method not only promotes critical thinking but also encourages the civic habits necessary for dealing with difference in an open and democratic manner.

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   Page last updated 09 March 2011