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A Book Review Exercise: “A Selection of Wise Words”

Joel Rosenberg
Joel Rosenberg

by Joel Rosenberg

Context:  I’ve used this method with master level art & design & architecture students when running an intensive one week workshop called “Foraging and Gardening in the City” in Helsinki, Finland 2011-2013. This method can be used on a PDC too.

Duration:  Part I. 30min. + Part II. 5min./student (12 students = 60min.)

Description:  Before the session the teacher selects a number of books that she/he thinks could be helpful for the students.

Part I. Teacher spreads the books in front of the students so they can have a look at them for a minute or two without touching them. Students are then asked to choose a book and browse it for a while in silence. Teacher then asks students to take a book that feels good, invites one to browse it. Students can swap books but eventually should select one to take home for further reading. Students are then asked to read part of the book during next evening or two and bring the book back to class for part two.

Part II. In the class the students will then present the ideas, impressions, feeling the book gave. This takes about 5 minutes/student.

Resources needed:

Selection of books so that each student will get one. Couple of extra books eg. 15 books for 12 students. I have used books with varied topics of sustainability, self-sufficiency, wild foods, place making etc. from authors: Derrick Jensen, Mark Boyle, Tom Hodgkinson, Joanna Macy, Rob Hopkins, Richard Mabey, Lasse Nordlund, Darrin Nordahl, Hella Hernberg.

Learning objectives:

Students learn to follow their intuition and go towards ideas that are important to them. They learn about different authors, ideas and ways of living by listening other students’ stories of the books.