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Donna Qualey

Turns of Thought

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Turns of Thought is at once a classroom-based inquiry, a philosophical analysis, a practical demonstration, and a personal reflection on writing, reading, and teaching. Donna Qualley differentiates among related forms of reflective thinking to offer a deeper understanding of the nature, practice, and value of "reflexivity." She reveals how reflexivity is a necessary part of the learning process, especially when learning first requires the learner to engage in "unlearning," the gradual modification or revision of previous assumptions. Qualley describes how she teaches writing and reading as methods for reflexive inquiry by teaching what she calls "the essayistic stance"-a way of thinking about ideas that is open and dialogic. What determines whether a piece of writing is essayistic, the author suggests, is not only the form in which it appears on the page but also the stance or approach the writer and reader adopt toward the text. And Qualley demonstrates what she describes, continually turning back to reexamine how her own frames of reference influence her thinking and response to her students' work.