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Book Review

Learning to Teach Through Discussion: The Art of Turning the Soul

This sequel to Sophie Haroutunian-Gordon’s Turning the Soul: Teaching Through Conversation in the High School presents a case study of two people learning to teach. It shows them engaging two groups of 4th grade students in discussion about the meaning of texts—what the author calls “interpretive discussion. The two groups differ with respect to race, geographical location, and affluence.

As the novice teachers learn to clarify their own questions about meaning, they become better listeners and leaders of the discussions. Eventually, they mix the students from the two classrooms, and the reader watches them converse about a text as the barriers of race and class seem to break down. In addition to the detailed analysis of the case study, Learning to Teach Through Discussion: The Art of Turning the Soul presents philosophical, literary, and psychological foundations of interpretive discussion and describes its three phases: preparation, leading, and reflection. The book is designed to help readers learn to engage students of all ages in text interpretation.