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Midpoint Reflection Exercise

In order to give substantial focus to your observations, questions, and ideas in our class, I will be asking each of you to take a turn doing a “midpoint reflection” – one of you each week (see sign-up sheet).

The object of this activity is to enable us to take a fresh turn in our class discussions, to focus on questions or angles that might not otherwise occur to us as a whole group, and to receive contributions to the discussion from all members of the class. I have used this approach in several other seminars I have taught, and it has been one of the aspects of discussion that the students have enjoyed and benefited from the most.

Here’s how the midpoint reflection will work when it’s your turn:

•  Roughly half-way through our class, we will shift gears and turn the time over to you.

•  You’ll summarize one key point or idea from the discussion so far, and then direct our attention to one question or issue you feel has NOT been covered enough in the discussion to that point.

(This might be something you noticed in your own reading that seemed striking, puzzling, moving, annoying, etc. Or it might be one of the study questions that we haven’t yet had time to address, etc.)

You should plan on using no more than 1-2 minutes for both of these steps combined.

•  After you raise your question/issue, the other class members will join in discussion with you on that topic and ones related to it that occur to them.

•  I will be completely silent for at least 10 minutes during this time in order to let you facilitate the discussion and encourage you to talk among yourselves. I really mean it – I won’t jump in to fill a silence or divert the conversation. After 10 minutes I may re-join, or I may just let the discussion keep rolling along.

A note to yourself:

My midpoint reflection will be on


By Allison Pingree, Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching

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