ON DEMAND: Reversing Roles, Expanding Mindsets: A Close Reading Activity


  • Ana Pugatch




How can we get our students to discuss and write about texts in more depth? As instructors, we can kickstart this process by taking a backseat and giving our students the autonomy to shape their conversations with one another. This video describes a student-led close reading activity which can be conducted in an in-person or synchronous online course. Genres of text which can be analyzed include primary/secondary sources, literature, scholarly articles, criticism—any complex text that requires deeper digging. The class is broken up into two roles, speakers and writers; while the speakers bring their thought-provoking questions to the table, the writers type up their own reflections on their peers’ dialogue, which they will subsequently post on the discussion board. The two groups then switch roles, giving everyone the opportunity to speak and to write. As the instructor, you merely serve as an organizer and listener throughout. One of the ultimate objectives is to show students how to be proactive in the construction of knowledge in the classroom. The activity draws on a combination of preexisting pedagogical tools, including Jim Burke’s three levels of questions, the Socratic method, and the “fishbowl” format. I have also incorporated my grading methods and personal experiences as an instructor who had to adapt the activity when we moved our classes online during the Spring ’20 semester.

Author Biography

Ana Pugatch






2021 On Demand Pre-recorded Presentation