<section begin="definition" />An interpretive discussion is a discussion in which participants explore and/or resolve interpretations often pertaining to texts of any medium containing significant ambiguity in meaning.<section end="definition" />

Education Edit

Interpretive discussions are an effective pedagogical method throughout educational systems in classes of nearly every subject and grade.[1][2] A major goal of pedagogical interpretive discussions is for students to delve deeply into texts in order to better understand their meanings. Pedagogical interpretive discussions typically culminate with syntheses of arguments presented, engaging students in critical thinking as they infer meaning from texts, formulate personal opinions, respectfully argue for their own interpretations and synthesize arguments. Over the course of discussions, participants benefit from cognitive exercise as well as communication and social relationship skill-building.[2] Cognitive skills developed include inquiry,[3][4] critical thinking, reflective thinking,[5][6] metacognition,[7] reading comprehension, text inferencing, pragmatic competence and metalinguistic awareness.

In the United States, the Common Core State Standards Initiative English Language Arts Standards[8] "require that all students learn to make interpretations of texts. The standards insist that students be able to comprehend what is stated explicitly in a text, infer what follows logically from explicit statement, and make arguments based upon textual evidence to support those inferences — i.e., interpret a text for themselves. In addition, students are expected to be able to engage in conversation about the meaning of texts with others whose perspectives and backgrounds may differ from their own. The exchanges are to be 'collaborative', meaning that students will work together to develop ideas — 'building on one another's' — and state their views clearly."[9]

Leading interpretive discussionsEdit

Successful leaders of interpretive discussions should be involved with the ideas and opinions that their students express. This involves both being familiar with the texts and developing lists of questions to use as possible jumping points for discussions as well as getting participants involved throughout the processes of discussions. Successful leaders also come to discussions with open minds as to the outcomes or endpoints of discussions. Leaders must listen to discussants, acting as facilitators and not as authorities.[2]

Before discussions, leaders should carefully select readings and communicate expectations to participants. This ensures that participants will have adequate time to prepare and to understand the expectations for discussions such as expected attendance at discussions, frequency of participation and proper ways to disagree respectfully with other participants.[10]:38–39

In some discussion models, participants are expected to come to discussions prepared with their own lists of questions about texts, to encourage independent thinking. Interpretive discussions can arise or flow from participants' questions; discussants can be genuinely motivated to participate as well as to engage with texts so as to better understand the meanings of texts. That is, no questions need be thrust upon groups for discussions, but rather interested discussants can participate actively to better understand the meanings of texts.[1] In other discussion models (often those with more limited time), leaders guide participants through questions to ensure that important topics are covered over the course of discussions.[10]:40

In leading discussions, leaders should encourage every member of the discussion to participate. Some consider that this includes calling on participants who are habitually quiet, even when they do not volunteer, to try to engage them in discussions and to encourage them to share their opinions and interpretations.[10]:43 As leaders, it is also important to remember that "one of the most important things an instructor can do to promote student participation in discussion is to maintain a respectful posture toward students and their contributions."[10]:45 By treating participants and their questions and interpretations respectfully, leaders will encourage participants to continue to participate and to take risks.

Leaders of discussions should also encourage participants to engage more deeply with texts by asking probing follow-up questions, asking for specific passages in texts as support and by summarizing what participants have said and asking if participants want to clarify. In this way, leaders of discussions act as facilitators. Finally, discussion leaders are responsible for providing conclusions or wrap ups to discussions, asking for final questions or clarifications and providing contexts for discussions.

Discussion questionsEdit

Interpretive questions may have one or many valid answers. Participants in interpretive discussions are asked to interpret various aspects of texts or to hypothesize about intended interpretations using text-based evidence. Other types of discussion questions include fact-based and evaluative questions. Fact-based questions tend to have one valid answer and can involve recall of texts or specific passages. Evaluative questions ask discussion participants to form responses based on experiences, opinions, judgments, knowledge and/or values rather than texts.

Basic or focus questions are interpretive questions which comprehensively address an aspect of interpreting a selection. Resolving basic or focus questions typically requires investigation and examination of multiple passages within a selection. Cluster questions, which need not be interpretive questions, are optionally prepared by discussion leaders and are often organized to help to resolve the answers to basic or focus questions. Cluster questions may additionally serve as catalysts for further discussions.

Semantics Edit

Main article: Semantics

Denotation Edit

Main article: Denotation

Connotation Edit

Main article: Connotation

Extension Edit

Main article: Extension (semantics)

Ambiguity Edit

Main article: Ambiguity

Polysemy Edit

Main article: Polysemy

Cognitive semanticsEdit

Main article: Cognitive semantics

Perception Edit

Main article: Perception
Multistable perceptionEdit

Pragmatics Edit

Main article: Pragmatics

Context Edit

Priming Edit

Main article: Priming (psychology)

Culture Edit

Main article: Culture

Historical Pragmatics Edit

Main article: Historical pragmatics

Communication Studies Edit

Main article: Communication studies

Visual Communication Edit

Main article: Visual communication

Linguistics Edit

Main article: Linguistics

Literal and Figurative Language Edit

Text Linguistics Edit

Main article: Text linguistics

Cognitive Linguistics Edit

Main article: Cognitive linguistics

Historical Linguistics Edit

Semiotics Edit

Main article: Semiotics

Denotation Edit

Connotation Edit

Methods of Semiotics Edit

Commutation Test Edit

Paradigmatic Analysis Edit

Main article: Paradigmatic analysis

Syntagmatic Analysis Edit

Main article: Syntagmatic analysis

Film Semiotics Edit

Main article: Film semiotics

Cognitive Semiotics Edit

Main article: Cognitive semiotics

Semiosis Edit

Main article: Semiosis

Hermeneutics Edit

Main article: Hermeneutics

Subtext Edit

Main article: Subtext

Allusion Edit

Main article: Allusion

Recontextualisation Edit

Main article: Recontextualisation

Intertextuality Edit

Main article: Intertextuality

Interdiscursivity Edit

Main article: Interdiscourse

Hermeneutic Circle Edit

Main article: Hermeneutic circle

Exegesis Edit

Main article: Exegesis

Eisegesis Edit

Main article: Eisegesis

Literature Edit

Main article: Literature

Literary Theory Edit

Main article: Literary theory

Reader-response Criticism Edit

Literary Criticism Edit

Main article: Literary criticism

Stylistics Edit

Drama Edit

Main article: Drama

Comedy Edit

Main articles: Comedy and Theories of humor

Philology Edit

Main article: Philology

Poetry Edit

Main article: Poetry

Theory of Poetry Edit

Main article: Poetics

History of Poetry Edit

Main article: History of poetry

Art Edit

Main articles: Art and Aesthetic interpretation

Theory of Art Edit

Main article: Theory of art

Art Criticism Edit

Main article: Art criticism

Art History Edit

Main article: Art history

Theatre Edit

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Theory of Theatre Edit

Theatre Criticism Edit

Main article: Theatre criticism

History of Theatre Edit

Main article: History of theatre

Improvisational Theatre Edit

Film Edit

Main article: Film

Film Theory Edit

Main article: Film theory

Film Criticism Edit

Main article: Film criticism

History of Film Edit

Main article: History of film

Narrative Edit

Main article: Narrative

Narrative Theory Edit

Main article: Narratology

History Edit

Main articles: History and Historiography

Philosophy Edit

Main article: Philosophy

Philosophy of Language Edit

Context Principle Edit

Main article: Context principle

Phenomenology Edit

Phenomenology of Interpretation Edit

Aesthetic Emotions Edit

Main article: Aesthetic emotions

Aesthetics Edit

Main article: Aesthetics

Philosophy of Film Edit

Main article: Philosophy of film

Logic Edit

Argumentation Edit

Main article: Argumentation theory

Law Edit

Religion Edit

Science Edit

Anthropology Edit

Main article: Anthropology

Cognitive Anthropology Edit

Psychology Edit

Main article: Psychology

Psycholinguistics Edit

Main article: Psycholinguistics

Cognitive Philology Edit

Main article: Cognitive philology

Cognitive Poetics Edit

Main article: Cognitive poetics

Psychology of Art Edit

Main article: Psychology of art

Gestalt Psychology Edit

Main article: Gestalt psychology

Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis Edit

Cognitive Science Edit

Main article: Cognitive science

Analogy Edit

Main article: Analogy

Concept Edit

Main article: Concept

Abstraction Edit

Main article: Abstraction

Conceptual Metaphor Edit

Main article: Conceptual metaphor

Conceptual Blending Edit

Main article: Conceptual blending

Artificial Intelligence Edit

Knowledge Representation Edit

Cognitive Architectures Edit

Computational Linguistics Edit

Speech Recognition Edit

Main article: Speech recognition

Natural Language Understanding Edit

Semantic Interpretation Edit

Natural Language Generation Edit

Speech Synthesis Edit

Main article: Speech synthesis

Computational Creativity Edit

Computational Semiotics Edit

Multi-agent Systems Edit

Main article: Multi-agent system

Sociology Edit

Main article: Sociology

Sociolinguistics Edit

Main article: Sociolinguistics

Social Semiotics Edit

Main article: Social semiotics

Political Science Edit

Main article: Political science

References Edit

  1. 1.0 1.1 Haroutunian-Gordan, Sophie (1998). "A Study of Reflective Thinking: Patterns in Interpretive Discussion". Education Theory. 48 (1): 33–58. doi:10.1111/j.1741-5446.1998.00033.x. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Haroutunian-Gordon, Sophie (1991). Turning the Soul: Teaching Through Conversation in the High School. University of Chicago Press. ISBN 9780226316765. 
  3. Dewey, John (1938). Logic: The Theory of Inquiry. Lexington, Massachusetts: D. C. Heath and Company. 
  4. Colapietro, Vincent (2005). "Cultivating the Arts of Inquiry, Interpretation and Criticism: A Peircean Approach to our Educational Practices". Studies in Philosophy and Education. 24 (3-4): 337–366. doi:10.1007/s11217-005-3856-x. 
  5. Dewey, John (1910). How We Think. Lexington, Massachusetts: D. C. Heath and Company. 
  6. Rodgers, Carol (2002). "Defining Reflection: Another Look at John Dewey and Reflective Thinking". The Teachers College Record. 104 (4): 842–866. doi:10.1111/1467-9620.00181. 
  7. Mokhtari, Kouider; Reichard, Carla A. (2002). "Assessing Students' Metacognitive Awareness of Reading Strategies". Journal of Educational Psychology. 94 (2): 249–259. doi:10.1037/0022-0663.94.2.249. 
  8. "Common Core State Standards Initiative English Language Arts Standards". Common Core State Standards Initiative. Common Core State Standards Initiative. 
  9. Haroutunian-Gordan, Sophie (2014-04-15). "Interpretive Discussion: A Route Into Textual Interpretation". Education Week Teacher. 
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 Salemi, Michael K.; Hansen, W. Lee (2005). Discussing Economics: A Classroom Guide to Preparing Discussion Questions and Leading Discussion. Edward Elgar Publishing. ISBN 9781781958476. 

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