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Moderator Tips: Specific Ways to Begin Discussion

abstract:

This "Moderator Tip” continues where the first ended—creating a ritual to honorably initiate your discussion.  Please email any comments or criticism, and suggestions for future columns. If you are a moderator, volunteer or professional, everyone at BookBuffet.com would benefit from your response.

article:

October 13, 2004

Building The Foundation of Discussion

One group purified my suggestion about having each member speak a few words about the title until everyone has contributed a ‘brick’ with which to build your discussion. This particular group rigidly adheres to the ‘opening’ practice of going around the group until each person has supplied one, only one and just ONE word, to this pile of bricks.

 

This thin layer creates a most interesting foundation because then they go around again with each successive person elaborating on why she/he zeroed in on that one word. What I witnessed when I visited this group was very intense, respectful listening, and carefully thought-out responses.

 

In this way, a discussion ensues that meanders in varying topics, and every once in a while the next person to speak says something like, “I didn’t get to talk about my word yet,” and the discussion takes yet another turn. “Did everybody get to talk about their word?” was the question that signified the discussion was coming to a  close.

I would just suggest that you try to do this by yourself – before you get to your group; Or as you reflect on it; Or try it as you finish the book.

Challenge: Synthesize an entire, complex novel into one word.

See if you can do it. It’s definitely a bit of a challenge your group could have fun with. And perhaps you will notice a difference  to your group dynamics. 

Enjoy your reading, Rachel

 

Rachel Jacobsohn,

Author of The Reading Group Handbook, Hyperion (1998) 

Founder of ABGRL,

The Association of Book Group Readers and Leaders

P.O. Box 885, Highland Park, IL 60035

 

Next column: Selecting Book Group Worthy Books 

Send in your suggestions to be included. rachelj@bookbuffet.com

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 Previous Columns

Moderator Tip #1: Initiating Discussion

 

 

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