Discussion. 1 Sept.



Before we move begin class discussion of The Tempest, act 1 and the first half of Ingo Berensmeyer’s “Shakespeare and Media Ecology” (515-523), I want to review some basics of literary analysis and the rhetorical gestures required for successful discussion.

Why Discuss?

Discussion in the literature classroom is an oral and collaborative form of close reading. Close reading, a skill that makes possible all of literally study, is a sort-of tacking back and forth between global, general claims about a text and local, linguistic features. Discoveries made at the local level–revelations about meter, repetition, metaphor, synonym, vehicle, tenor, tone, or unusual features.–shape the claims you make at the global level. The claims at the global level eventually attract key textual patterns that you then shape into a reading. So in discussion we perform the skills required for successful close reading and argument, driven analysis. Discussion also helps us make connections between textual elements and commit new information to memory. For these reasons class discussion is the most widely used pedagogical tool.


Good discussions requires participants to engage one another’s ideas. Sustained, collaborative engagement requires the following skills: listening, paraphrase, synthesis, and creativity, i.e. saying again or revoicing. As we discuss the question that follows, I’ll ask you to speak to one another’s ideas about The Tempest.

Take 5-8 minutes to respond and be prepared to cite specific evidence in the text to support your answer.
Does Prospero cause the storm?

Discussion Templates (For more discussion templates seeGerald Graff and Kathy Berkenstein’s They Say; I Say)

Try using some of the templates listed below to engage one another’s ideas:

Paraphrase: “I hear Jimmy saying______ about topic_________”

Synthesize: “Kelly has supported her point, which is_________, with_________ example from the text.”

Contribute: “To build on what Charlie just said, I think_________”

Apply: “The conclusions that Ted draws can also be applied __________”



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