Thursday, November 01, 2007

seeking your input

In meeting with my inquiry group and talking with other teachers and some thoughtful non-academics over the past couple of months, I'm about to decide that this project is 2 books instead of one. One audience would be secondary teachers, and the other would be the more general public. So here's where I could use your input.

1. As a teacher, what are some questions you would hope to explore in a book that focused on using book clubs as a means to help students engage in civil discourse on provocative cultural issues? What would you want to know about this project?

2. Now think of someone outside of academics that is nonetheless interested in issues of schooling, literacy, and how both might be used as vehicles to help kids engage productively in civil discourse (i.e., difficult conversations about the often polarizing topics in our culture). What are some questions that person would have? What would they need to know about this project?

(One thing to keep in mind: Although the first book would definitely include resources for teachers, it won't focus primarily on the nuts and bolts of book clubs since that was the focus of my last book.)

Thanks for your input!


Natalie said...

Hey, I have to say I think you've already decided that your project is two books - you just need to say it out loud. Here you go - "This is two books. Can't help it - it is what it is." :-)

1. As a teacher I'd want to know first exactly what you mean by civil discourse on provocative cultural issues. I'm sure you're planning to define this - but you asked so I answered. Once defined I'd want a list of books with a short synapsis, questions that are appropriate for students, logistics on setting up the discussion (how to build the environment of trust that allows open discussion) and how to establish the acceptable parameters.

2. Outside of academics I this it would be important to have a historical overview of the idea of civil discourse and it's place in education, i.e. WHY is this important? I'd want a confimration of whay it's important for my child's education - or more important why is this important to grow strong citizens. Although this may sound like nuts and bolts I do think there are important logistical issues specific to this particular topic that must be addressed.

Glad you've acknowledged the presence of two books in that one space. We missed your input for our inquiry group - which by the way still ROCKS!

Cindy O-A said...

Yes, our Inquiry Group definitely rocks--4 strong women in one small space (we should have t-shirts made).

Thanks for your input. I am having a heckuva time finding plain ole definitions, much less a history of civil discourse, yet the term is used everywhere! This is so frustrating! I'm headed back to the library again, though, and this time, I'm looking at the Oxford English dictionary. Surely I will find something in there...

susan said...

Hmm. Cindy seems to me that the NWP network might be able to help you out. Maybe a post to the Directors Listserve asking for places to head in your own reading. Good luck!