Academic Socialization: Mentoring New Honors Students in Metadiscourse



Department Name When Scholarship Produced

English and Theatre

Document Type


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Discussion-based classes are a defining characteristic of honors curricula (National Collegiate Honors Council). Of the 177 institutions to describe their curriculum in the Official Online Guide to Honors Colleges and Programs, 50% promote their classes as “discussion” or “discussion-based.” The descriptions include the following: “Honors Seminars are unique, discussion- based courses” at the University of Minnesota; “Discussion-based seminars . . . [provide] the highest level of personal attention” at Villanova; and the importance of “Discussion-based courses, where lecturing is avoided” at Western Carolina. I, too, follow a conversational learning model, a “dialogic pedagogy” (Knauer 44), in my honors teaching. Students learn by externalizing their thoughts in debate with others, and helping students improve their abilities to discuss topics is thus a key element of higher education. This study reveals techniques that faculty can use to help students hone their thinking and learn the fine art and skill of effective oral discourse.

Journal Title

Honors in Practice