All our meetings follow the rules of shared inquiry. These are rules created by our advisors to make for better discussions of texts. The four rules:
Four Rules of Shared Inquiry Discussion
1. Only those who have read the selection may take part in the discussion.
If they aren't familiar with the selection, students are unable to understand or judge the validity of the ideas raised. They are also unable to help their fellow participants find passages for evidence or discover ideas and meaning.
Students unfamiliar with the selection are encouraged to read and prepare before participating. To allow them to participate before reading is to invite misunderstanding and ill-informed opinions. Discussion is forced to slow down and cover facts rather than pursue ideas and interpretations.
2. Discussion is restricted to the selection everyone has read.
When the selection remains the focus of discussion everyone can determine whether facts are accurately recalled or opinions adequately supported. Talking at length about personal experiences or other stories, books, or movies can prevent the group from making sense of the story at hand.
3. All opinions should be supported with evidence from the selection.
Making sure students support their ideas with evidence ensures that they are thinking critically and independently. It promotes careful reading and a greater appreciation for literature.
4. Leaders may only ask questions, not answer them.
When the leader makes statements or answers questions, he or she becomes the judge of what the text means. In Shared Inquiry we want students to judge for themselves what the text means.