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Using Socratic Seminars to Build Understanding of Diversity among Students. Presented by: Solomon Cross, Terrilyn Gray, Katrina Schultz and Morgan Valsin. Norms. Silence and put away all electronic devices Responses should not be based on emotions; Please be factual

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Using socratic seminars to build understanding of diversity among students

Using Socratic Seminars to Build Understanding of Diversity among Students

Presented by:

Solomon Cross, Terrilyn Gray, Katrina Schultz and Morgan Valsin

Norms among Students

  • Silence and put away all electronic devices

  • Responses should not be based on emotions; Please be factual

  • Respect the group (entire room)

  • Listen attentively; Listen respectfully

  • Do not repeat responses

  • Time yourself and allow others the opportunity to share

  • Discuss issues, not people

Target audience
Target Audience among Students

  • Secondary Teachers

  • Secondary Administrators

  • School Counselors

Objectives among Students

  • To explain the importance of critical thinking, communication and diversity in a 21st Century Global World

  • To explain the importance of using Socratic Seminars to facilitate accountable talk among students

  • To provide a model of a Socratic Seminar by using the tools learned from the lectures on diversity and Socratic Seminars

Agenda among Students

1. Norms

2. Icebreaker

3. Gallery Walk

4. Background/Purpose of Using Diversity

5. Background/Purpose of Socratic Seminars

6. Socratic Seminar

7. Closure

8. Evaluation

Ice breaker two truths a lie
Ice Breaker: Two Truths & a Lie among Students

  • Each person writes two truths and a lie about themselves.

  • Everyone walk around and chats with one another, like a cocktail party, and asks about each other’s truths and lies.

  • The goal is to quiz each person about each statement to help determine which are the truth and which is the lie, while seducing other people into thinking that your own lie is a truth.

  • People should not reveal their lie, even if it seems others might have guessed.

  • Each person reads their three statements aloud to the group and everyone votes on which one they think is a lie.

Purpose of ice breaker
Purpose of Ice Breaker among Students

  • Stereotypes can have teachers perceiving students in the wrong way all year, affecting the learning environment.

  • Students can also perceive other students in the wrong way, with or without teachers influencing the labeling of other students.

  • It is important for critical thinking, communication, and diversity in a 21st century global world.

Gallery walk
Gallery Walk among Students

  • Classmates will walk around and view all photos without talking

  • After 1-2 minutes, return to seat and answer the following questions

    • If asked to categorize yourself by one of these pieces, which would you choose? Why?

    • Do you relate to some of the pieces more than others? Why?

  • Discuss answers with the whole group

Purpose of gallery walk
Purpose of Gallery Walk among Students

  • To understand how students may feel with other diverse groups and how they relate to diversity

Embracing diversity

Embracing Diversity among Students

Socratic Dialogue: Philosophical Foundation

Is diversity in education important
Is diversity in education important? among Students

According to the United States Supreme Court: YES!

  • Brown v. Board of Education (1954) – landmark case making “separate but equal” unconstitutional, ordered desegregation, & established educational benefits of diversity

  • Grutter v. Bollinger (2003) – University of Michigan Law School case upholding the benefits of diversity as a “compelling interest” that justifies the use of race as one of the collaborative factors for admission

Is diversity in education important1
Is diversity in education important? among Students

According to research: YES!

Cooper (2006) synthesis of numerous reputable research studies summarizes the academic and social benefits of diversity into four general categories:

  • Enhanced Student Learning (concepts of broader knowledge gained from experiences, increased communication skills, enhanced analytical capacity, & advanced problem solving ability)

  • Enhanced preparation to flourish in the diverse environments of higher education & workforce

  • Cross Cultural Competence (diversity - breaks down racial stereotypes, while increasing racial tolerance & understanding)

  • Creation of leaders with legitimacy in the eyes of the citizenry (diversity reflects rapidly changing global demographics)

Investing in diversity miner s canary metaphor
Investing in Diversity: Miner’s Canary Metaphor among Students

  • Failure to acknowledge the importance of diversity creates a “toxic” environment that threatens both the “miners” & the “canaries” (pp. 26 – 27).

  • Investment produces leaders who give back to society at large

  • Preparation for future leadership requires educators capable of training, “passionate problem solvers who don’t think there is one right answer to every problem, who are open to the possibility of multiple answers and to the challenge of trying to figure out which of those possible answers works best in the context of a particular problem” (p. 30).

    (Guinier, 2005)

Diverse philosophers

Theoretical Foundation among Students

Diverse Philosophers

Jacques derrida 1930 2004
Jacques Derrida among Students1930 - 2004

French Philosopher of Jewish decent

Deconstruction – critical approach of philosophy developed to analyze both the conditions of possibility and the limitations of various forms of discourse

Age 12 – anti-Semitic law forced expulsion from academy where he was top student in entire school

Family lost citizenship & became unwanted foreigners in the land where they had lived for 5 generations

Turned the pain of negative experience into positive contribution to society as philosopher & activist fighting for the rights of diverse populations

Founding member of the Cultural Foundation Against Apartheid, activist for Algerian immigrants, & Czech Charter

Paulo freire 1921 1997
Paulo Freire among Students1921 - 1997

Brazilian philosopher

Grew up in poverty – lead to deep understanding of the oppressed & the “culture of silence” accompanying oppression

Early career – labor union lawyer helping the poor understand their rights

Began working with adult literacy programs

Earned PhD – professor of philosophy & education at University of Recife (Brazil) & Harvard University (U.S.)

Pedagogy of the Oppressed (1972)

Developed method known as Critical Pedagogy (principles used as the basis of Transformative Learning Theory)

Devoted life to empowering the oppressed with tools to overcome economic, social, & political forces placed upon them by the dominant classes of society

Nel noddings 1929 present
Nel Noddings among Students1929 - Present

Caucasian American feminist philosopher

President of the Philosophy of Education Society

Rose as female scholar among elite members of academia during 1949 – 1973

Experience as educator – includes all levels (early childhood/elementary/junior & senior high/university)

Work focuses on the ethical & moral responsibilities of education

Proponent of equality & diversity

Believes equality is often confused with sameness

Critical lessons – prompt Socratic thought, discussion, & understanding of topics central to humanity that lead to holistic development of critical awareness essential to creating civic responsibility in a liberal democracy

Concepts of care, building relationships, ethical choices, & developing the characteristics for moral citizenship as primary goals of education that overarch all curriculum subjects

Cornel west 1953 present
Cornel West among Students1953 - Present

African American philosopher & professor

Professor of religion at Harvard, Princeton, & Yale Universities

Considered one of the greatest minds of our time

Expert witness to the power of Socratic philosophy – the love of truth & justice develops a conscience that forces an individual to muster up the courage to stand firm in the face of conflicts

Prophetic commitment to justice – calls for justice of all oppressed people & unites diverse faith systems (Christian/Islamic/Jewish) by acknowledging their connected roots

Connects to people where they are

Uses strategies considered “out of box” (ex: rap albums filled with philosophical lyrics to prompt critical thought & reach youth)

Uses public voice to expose injustice in American society & throughout the world

Derrida freire noddings west
Derrida, Freire, Noddings, & West among Students

  • Emphasize the importance of critical thinking to developing understanding

  • Express deep concern about education systems that place low value on the development of analytical thinking

  • Observe the widespread failure to use critical thinking in decision-making in society

  • Convey failure to equip & utilize critical thinking among diverse individuals as dangerous to the well-being of society

What is a socratic seminar
What among Studentsis a Socratic Seminar?

  • Socratic Seminars are structured conversations about selected texts and the important ideas imbedded within them. (Mangrum, 2010)

  • The discussion is not about right answer; it is not a debate. Students are encouraged to think out loud and exchange ideas openly (

Process of socratic seminars
Process among Studentsof Socratic Seminars

  • Text Selection: Teachers must select text imbedded with rich ideas important to the participants. Text should be open to multiple interpretations.

  • Setting Goals: The facilitator must set personal behavior goals that will enhance the conversation.(do not raise hands, listening fully, allowing equal talk)

  • During the Seminar: Pose key questions, ask participants to relate their statement to particular passages, if needed, refocus students.

  • After the Seminar: Ask debriefing questions, share your own experiences

Role of the facilitator
Role of the among StudentsFacilitator

  • Guide students to a deeper and clarified consideration of the ideas of the text

  • Must have a respect for varying points-of-view

  • Adherence and respect for the seminar process

  • The facilitator must model behavior that is expected:

    • “What I heard you say was...”

    • “Can you compare your response to what you heard Chris say...”

    • “Where is the evidence from the text for what you said...”

    • “I want to hear what Monica thinks...”

Types of questioning
Types of among StudentsQuestioning

  • Interpretive- No single answer is correct, but arguments can be made to support positions

  • Literal- Comprehension of the text

  • Evaluative- Opinions, or information relative to their lives.

Example q uestions
Example Q among Studentsuestions

  • Beginning

    • What is the authors purpose?

    • What is the main idea or underlying value in

      the text?

  • Middle

    • Who has a different perspective?

    • Has anyone changed their mind?

  • End

    • How do the ideas in the text relate to our


    • Why is this material important?

  • Benefits of socratic seminars
    Benefits of among StudentsSocratic Seminars

    • Helps build self-esteem, self-worth, sense of significance & sense of belonging

    • Allows students to build relationship among their peers

    Practice socratic seminar
    Practice: Socratic among StudentsSeminar

    • Read the article entitled, “Best Cities 2011: Got Diversity?” silently

    • Jot down 2-3 questions you may have about the article

    • Be prepared to share your questions with the group during the seminar

    • Sit in chairs arranged in a circle and remember the in-service norms

    Closure tea metaphor
    Closure: Tea Metaphor among Students

    You’re in for a special treat!

    References among Students

    Please review handouts for a concise list of references.

    Evaluation among Students

    Please complete the Diversity Evaluation Form and place it in the folder on the front table before you leave.

    Thank you for your cooperation! 