Inquiry-Based Teaching: Discussing Fiction Texts

Sheila Kosoff, an Urban Academy Literature teacher, facilitates a discussion with her students about the main character in Nabokov's Lolita. Using an inquiry-based approach, Sheila asks students to consider the psychology of the main character, Humbert, as the novel progresses and as their perception of him changes. Students are encouraged to share their ideas and the discussion is shaped by students' responses and ideas. Sheila reflects on her preparation for the discussion and notes that she must over-prepare for class, reading and underlining the text so that she is ready for the discussion to take many different paths. She uses textual evidence to challenge student thinking, though it may not change their ideas or perspectives.