Reading deeply for disciplinary awareness and political judgment
Keywords:deep reading, judgment, targeted feedback, humanities SoTL, disciplinary thinking, reading strategies, metacognition
What happens when students become better readers? Cultivating deep reading habits in students to help them navigate disciplinary cultures respects student autonomy. Scholarly literature predicts that three linked practices improve student reading: practice with feedback, explicit in-class work on reading strategies, and disciplinary norm discussions. To see what happens when students engage in these practices, I studied two years of students in an American Political Thought (APT) course, comparing essays written at the start and end of the courses. In this article, I analyze evidence of student learning by reading their work closely, and in the context of political theory as a humanistic sub-discipline, speaking both to “what is?” student reading and exploring its implications for citizenship through political theorist Hannah Arendt’s reflective political judgment. As students deepen their reading practices, they are cultivating habits of citizenship, even if they still struggle with disciplinary awareness.
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