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Socratic Seminar I

Developing Critical Thinking in the Content Areas

Nicole Gattegno

on 21 March 2018

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Transcript of Socratic Seminar I

Critical Thinking
Philosophical Chairs
Seminars Defined
The Socratic Seminar and
Common Core Standards
Socratic Seminars
What is Thinking?
Can We Teach it in School?
A format for classroom discussion.
This is a dialogue that helps students
develop the ability to give careful
attention to other students' comments
and to engage in constructive dialogue
with one another.
Developing Critical Thinking
in the Content Areas

Socrates thought it was more
important for students to
think for themselves than
to merely fill their heads
with "right" answers. The
seminar is a method to
try to understand information.
Questioning students about something they have read so as to help them improve their understanding of basic ideas and values...[Seminars] are conversations, conducted in an orderly manner by the teacher who acts as leader or moderator of the discussion. Seminars empower students to become critical thinkers.
Why teach using Socratic Seminar?
Three Kinds of Teaching
- Lecture Teaching
- Notes of professor
become notes of student
without going through
minds of either
- Acquisition of knowledge
by means of textbooks
- Develop skill by means
of exercises, questioning
about skills in problem
solving, critical thinking,
and communication
- Guided Practice
- Teacher working with
students on skills
- Constultant
(work with)
- Enlarge
understanding by
means of
- Teacher isn't
there to generate
answers but to
draw the answer
from the students
- Education (to draw from)
Dialogue vs. Debate
"Implementing Common Core Standards will require our education system to do things substantially differently from preschool through higher education. The new standards require a more integrated approach to delivering content instruction.
-Tom Torlakson
CA State Superintendent
Reading Anchor Standards Addressed in Seminar
1. Close Reading of text: making logical inferences, citing specific textual evidence when writing and speaking.

2. Determine central ideas, themes of a text, analyze development, and summarize.

4. Vocabulary (words/phrases): technical, connotative, and figurative meanings. Examine how authors' choices shape meaning and tone.

8. Determine and evaluate the argument and specific claims including valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.

9. Compare two or more texts' themes, topics to compare author's choices.

10. Read complex texts independently and proficiently.
Speaking and Listening Anchor Standards addressed in Seminar:
1. Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations, clearly expressing and building on ideas.3. Evaluate a speaker’s point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric. (PC)4. Presentation of information with a line of reasoning, organization, development, and style appropriate to audience and task.

3. Delineate a speaker's argument and specific claims, evaluating the soundness of the reasoning and the relevance and the sufficiency of the evidence.
Writing Anchor Standards addressed in Seminars:
1. Writing Arguments (connects to Reading Standard 8)4. Clear and coherent writing (connects to Speaking and Listening Standard 4)9. Use evidence to support claims in writing (connects to Reading Standard 8)10. Write Routinely - Process, timed, informal for a range of tasks, audiences, and purposes (similar to Reading Standard 10)
Correctly preparing
for Socratic Seminars
ensures that most
College and Career
Readiness Anchor
Standards are
Partnership for 21st Century Skills:
"the nation needs to do a much better job teaching and measuring advanced 21st century skills that are the indispensable currency for participation, achievement, and competitiveness in the global economy"
Thinking critically and making judgements
Solving complex, multidisciplinary, open-ended problems
Employing creativity and entrepreneurial thinking
Making innovative use of knowledge, information, and opportunities
Helps prepare students for a global workplace
Critical Thinking is
as fundamental and basic a skill as reading, and like reading, it is a skill that must be consistently taught and practiced
What is a Socratic Seminar?
Students are given opportunities to examine a common piece of text using strategies such as close reading
After reading the text, questions are formed; primarily open-ended, world connection, universal theme, and literary analysis questions.
Dialogue is exploratory and involves the suspension of biases and prejudices.
The Four Elements of Socratic Seminar
The Text
Think, write, interact with text
The Questions
Teacher and student generated
The Leader
Impartial, no opinion, severely limited voice
The Participants
Prepared, informed, supported
Jot Thoughts
Critical Thinking
Critical Reading
Critical Reflection
Team Building Skills
Conflict Resolution
Critical Thinking
"Sometimes I feel like education is more about facts and memorizing than anything else. However, is that really learning? I think developing your skills of absorbing, processing, and expressing those ideas and facts is more important and more beneficial. I enjoy learning facts and concepts, but what is even more enjoyable is the theories and ideas I can discuss, think and reason about with others."
" I have to admit that when we first started Socratic circles I thought to myself, "What in the world am I supposed to get out of this?" I didn't see the point, and honestly I didn't believe in them. I just thought it was something we did so you didn't have to teach. Slowly, though, I began to realize how often I thought about Socratic circles outside of class and how often I was inspired to write about what we discussed. Not essays, but just write. And when I look back now, I see how they've helped me grow as a person, how they've made me someone I'm proud of."
Critical Reading
"In Socratic circles you have to think in a different way. You can't just read the text and automatically see a deeper meaning. You have to think about what it could mean and relate the text to other works or experiences you are familiar with, which isn't a skill we use often."
By having the Socratic circles I have learned to say what I feel and use evidence to defend my position. Before I would just say what I thought and let it dangle, like raw meat in front of a pack of wild dogs. People would tear my thoughts to shreds because in my mind I had nothing to back those ideas up. Now I am able to assertively state what I think and prove to anyone that my ideas can be applied to the subject and learned from"
In Socratic circles you learn to be patient and to listen to the thoughts, feelings, and ideas of others when you're both on the outside and inside circle. Through listening, you hear multiple theories and opinions over the meaning of certain lines and the overall meaning the author is trying to convey. By listening, your thoughts and opinions might change, depending on what reasons others give for a certain topic.
"Having a chance to take a piece of text, analyze it in my own way, and then discuss this text with a group hits on all of the critical skills needed to write analytical essays. Without Socratic circles, it would be very difficult for me to write an essay of any quality."
Critical Reflection
"By looking back over our Socratic circles and listening to others, we received constructive criticism that helps us discuss and understand at a higher level. By taking time to reflect, we gain more, giving ourselves a chance to do better in the future."
Community Building
"In high school, it seems like so many things get in the way of people really knowing one another's thoughts and opinions. It's refreshing to have a diverse group of students come together and share their significant ideas in a civil manner. Socratic circles provide a secure and calm place to express real opinions and intelligence
"A we began to discuss our ideas in Socratic circle after Socratic circle, I realized that sharing my own thoughts was not about the personal pursuit of glory, but about working with others to find one epiphany after another."
Conflict Resolution
"Socratic circles taught us how to solve problems, to improve our writing and our critical thinking skills. But more than anything, they taught us how to deal with people and how to handle times when not everyone agreed."
What is Thinking?
Think Like A Seminar

Should GESD move to a four/ten Work Week?
Socratic Seminars Grade 4-8
Please sign-in
Grab a Packet and find a seat at a table in the first two rows.
Philosophical Chairs:

By the end of today, you will understand the elements that make up Socratic Seminars, the benefits of seminar and you will participate in a Philosophical Chairs dialogue.
Philosophical Chairs
Rules of Engagment
1. Be sure you understand the central statement or topic before the discussion begins. Decide which section you will sit in.
2. Listen carefully when others speak & seek to understand their arguments even if you don't agree/
3. Wait for the mediator to recognize you before you speak; only one person speaks at a time.
4. You must first summarize briefly the previous speaker's argument before you make your response.
5. If you have spoken for your side, you must wait until 3 other people on your side speak before you speak again.
6. Be sure that when you speak, you address the ideas, not the person stating them.
7. Keep an open mind & move to the other side or the undecided section if you feel that someone made a good argument or your opinion is swayed.
8. Support the mediator by maintaining order & helping the discussion to progress.
Now it is your turn...

Your homework is to conduct a Philosophical Chair in your classroom before our next meeting. Then come back prepared to discuss the experience.
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