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@Oxford. Amherst. Stanford. Dublin.

Shared Inquiry - Teaching by Asking Questions

Shared Inquiry

At Great Books, we teach by asking questions. Our approach to sparking dialogue with students is called Shared-Inquiry, and it dates back to Plato's teacher, Socrates.

Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote: "What Plato has thought, I can think, and what any saint has felt, I can feel."

Using Shared Inquiry, we take up the universal debates of classic literature and timeless questions like: What is the good life? What do I owe my neighbors? What must I do in the face of injustice?

Discussion-Based Learning

Each morning, students gather for two exciting seminars led by Academic Directors, distinguished faculty from world-class universities and schools. Each seminar focuses on a short selection of literature that students read the night before. Academic Directors use this time to raise big questions that act as a catalyst for deep discussions and close examination of the text, to lead students to their own best-thinking and help them develop ideas and arguments with care. Learn more about our distinguished faculty here

Gain Valuable Thinking Skills

The Great Books Summer Program builds on the 40-year success story of the Junior Great Books Program. As a result of completing our unique summer program, students will:

  • Learn how to read and think at a college level
  • Develop reflective reading and critical thinking skills
  • Learn how to get to key content, and develop ideas and arguments 
  • Learn how to engage in lively, spirited, yet disciplined discussion
  • Gain new powers of perception, critical thinking, and self-expression
  • Develop greater confidence with peers and adults
  • Launch their own lifelong intellectual journey
  • Have fun and make great new friends!
  • Be better prepared for the SAT

Why We Read, Think, and Discuss

Great books are timeless. The classical heroes are precisely the heroes we seek today; the conflicts of our nation's past foreshadow the issues we struggle with now. That's why at Great Books Summer Program, we create an experience where young people are encouraged to read and discuss classic works of literature as a way of thinking about the big ideas in our lives and the world. 


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