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Purpose of Socratic Seminar. Provokes thought, dialogue, and ownership for learning Allows students to speak (97% of the time) Leads to self-knowledge and understanding Puts ownership of learning on students Gives students confidence Leads to high retention rates. Room Arrangement. Circle

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purpose of socratic seminar
Purpose of Socratic Seminar
  • Provokes thought, dialogue, and ownership for learning
  • Allows students to speak (97% of the time)
  • Leads to self-knowledge and understanding
  • Puts ownership of learning on students
  • Gives students confidence
  • Leads to high retention rates
room arrangement
Room Arrangement
  • Circle
  • Outer circle if necessary
  • Hot seats

(Ball, Wanda H., & Brewer, Pam. (2000). Socratic seminars in the block. Larchmont, NY: Eye on Education)

discussion vs socratic dialogue
Discussion

Rows; teacher higher

Teacher talk--97%

Avg. response:2-3 sec.

Teacher affirmation

Thinking ends as soon as someone is right

“frill”

Socratic Dialogue

All in circle

Student talk--97%

Avg. response: 8-12 sec.

No teacher approval

Textual back up, open-ended exploration

Accountability

Discussion Vs. Socratic Dialogue
teacher preparation
Teacher Preparation
  • Selection of readings
    • Filled with issues and ideas worthy of discussion
    • Has ambiguities, contradictions, etc.
  • Define objective and outcome
    • What must be taught didactically vs. concepts explored in seminar?
  • Prepare pre- and post-tasks
  • Write the questions
classroom use
Classroom Use
  • 1-2 times/week in English & social studies
  • Few times/ quarter in anatomy & physiology
  • Every other week with earth science
  • Occasionally in other subjects to make content relevant and expandable
the questions
The Questions
  • Opening (20-45 minutes or longer)
    • Should be broadest
    • Should send class directly to text in any number of places for evidence
  • Core (5-15 minutes)
    • Focused on finite issues. Three to eight questions depending on length and complexity. How and why questions.
  • Closing
    • Should connect student lives to text.