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ERIC Number: EJ1080789
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 11
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1559-0143
Honors Students as Philosophers and Detectives
Briggs, Kaitlin A.
Honors in Practice, v9 p27-37 2013
This article explores the multiple educational uses of the question, "what do you mean by_____?" as an interlocutor's conversational gesture during classroom discussion, as a text-based prompt for both encoding/writing and decoding/reading, and as a rhetorical device for an effective oral presentation. Kaitlin Briggs explains that the question functions as a way to break down and analyze language, to unpack academic terminology across disciplines, and to enter more broadly an alternative paradigm for understanding, one with profound epistemological and pedagogical implications for students that shifts the locus of meaning so that it is not fixed and stable as in a dictionary but instead is work that they can participate in: an ongoing, active, cultural construction in the present occurring everywhere. The question "what do you mean by_____?" operates as its own method, as a tool for reflecting on language, whether in speech, writing, or reading, and ultimately as a mode of being that transcends all of these. Herein, Briggs uses a nuts-and-bolts approach, enacting these many uses to demonstrate how the question works: its structure, facets, possibilities, effects, and affects.
National Collegiate Honors Council. 1100 Neihardt Residence Center, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 540 North 16th Street, Lincoln, NE 68588. Tel: 402-472-9150; Fax: 402-472-9152; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Maine
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A