The Socratic Seminar is named after Greek philosopher Socrates, who believed in the power of social learning and deliberate discussion. Socrates believed that humans learned best from questioning and discussion. He believed discussion helped individuals critically think through complex ideas and learn better than they could on their own. You can think of a Socratic Seminar as an “intellectual discussion,” but you can also see it as a conversation where you “think out loud” and “talk it out.” Essentially, it is a student-led discussion over a text or big idea. Instead of you facilitating the discussion by asking questions, students take charge of their own learning in this activity. It is a student-centered and social approach to learning. For you, this means it is less prep work. For the students, it is more work…but isn’t that how it should be anyways?!
While the students “doing all the work” sounds good in theory, you might be worried about this kind of approach actually working in the high school classroom. If you are nervous about it, that’s natural. While these seminars are open-ended and student-centered, you will still provide just the right amount of structure and scaffolding. The first one you have in your classroom will be a learning experience for all of you, but each seminar will get better and better, and you’ll find yourself wondering—as I do—why you don’t do these ALL THE TIME!
In this product, you will find the following:
-Teacher Pacing Guide
-“Question Types” handout
-“Question Examples” handout
-Blank “Question Examples” template