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I really like this idea Jake, I might implement something like this in the spring! Another variation, although maybe not quite as effective, is to have them read and write their responses before class and bring them to save time. Of course, if it wasn't worth points they might not all do it, whereas everyone most likely does the exorcise in class...

Jake Wright

I'm glad you like it! I would bet that having students reflect outside of class would cut down on in-class time, but I share your worry that students would either then not do it or not engage meaningfully outside of the class without some sort of credit assigned. My worry would then be that if you assigned credit, even for completion, students would worry more about "getting it right," rather than the sort of open engagement this practice seeks to encourage. At the very least, doing it in class seems to generate robust discussion among nearly all students and is more directly in keeping with the roots of the practice, but moving parts of this outside of class could mitigate some of the time concerns, which are not insubstantial.


I've had students keep reading diaries of ca. 1-2 pages (including writing one comprehension question and one discussion question) that they submit each week. In many cases, I let them discuss their diary entries together in small groups at the beginning of class, with quite productive results. The diaries are part of their grade, but I emphasize that it's not about getting the "right" interpretation. Rather I want to see that they are grappling and engaging critically with the text.

A combination of this approach with the lectio divina method might be productive, while still cutting down on the in-class time required for such activities. I might try it next time around! Thanks!

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