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Introduction to Socratic Seminar
Transcript of Introduction to Socratic Seminar
1. Come prepared with proof of close reading.
2. Don't raise hands.
3. Listen carefully.
4. Address one another respectfully.
The Socratic seminar is a formal discussion, based on a text, in which the leader asks open-ended questions. Within the context of the discussion, students listen closely to the comments of others, thinking critically for themselves, and articulate their own thoughts and their responses to the thoughts of others. They learn to work cooperatively and to question intelligently and civilly.
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.
The seminar is a collaborative, open-ended dialogue
spurred by questions that encourage
critical thinking, deep reading, and active listening
The participants carry the burden of responsibility
for the quality of discussion. It is a discussion, not
Students sit in an inner and
outer circle. Only the inner
circle may speak, and they must
speak respectfully to one another.
1. Students need to build off of what each other
says. Using phrases like, "I agree with that because..." is a way to show that.
2. Speakers need to use a strong voice, sit up straight, maintain eye contact, and allow students to finish their thoughts.
3. There is no hand raising.
Students should reference the text in their
discussion. If a point is being made, it is
important to identify page or line number. That
is why it is so important to mark up the text with thinking so that it is easy to find what you want to talk about.
In order to participate, students MUST prepare for
the seminar. Tickets into the seminar will be a completed annotated poem and answered guide questions. Those who do not have the required assignments will need to sit in the outer circle and listen to the discussion, making notes (both positive and negative) about the conversation taking place in the inner circle.
Watch the following video clip example. Look
for evidence of the rules and guidelines of a Socratic Seminar. Jot down things that you see the students doing that are "good" as well as things that are "bad". Be prepared to discuss your ideas with the class.
What were some of the "good" things the students were doing? What were some "bad" things?
1. Students discuss and learn from each other
2. Students explain confusing concepts to each other in a respectful way.
3. A higher level of thinking is achieved through respectful interaction.
4. Close reading is required for a well-functioning seminar to take place.
5. Portions of the text need to be incorporated into discussions.
6. The teacher is the facilitator, not the leader. This helps to encourage a sense of safety.
7. Students take ownership of their own learning.
8. Following the seminar, students will need to complete a reflection.
9. Students are graded on their participation and preparation. All Langston Hughes papers will be turned in following the seminar.
NOTE TAKING: Building Off One Another
*Can you clarify what you meant by...
*Another interpretation of the passage could be...
*When we break down the passage, we see that...
*Your claim that (state claim) reminds me of...
*Building off your point...
*Your idea relates to...
*This passage suggests that...
*This serves as a segue into...
*Your question raises another one, which is...
*If I can add to your point...
*Going back to your earlier point...
*Your comment leads me to think about/question/wonder if...
*What textual examples support your idea?