teaching channel

Socratic Seminars: How to Prepare

I posted last year about Socratic Seminars and how I was planning on using them in my classroom. Needless to say, I was apprehensive in doing this because of its somewhat complicated structure and my always-denied but apparent perfectionism and my struggle to avoid it. However, I attended an in-house Avid training by one of our district’s teachers about what the seminar is and how to use it, and I felt pretty comfortable trying it out.

This post is going to be a how-to on how to prepare yourself and your students for a Socratic Seminar! Woo!

Prepare yourself:

1. Decide your end-goal for the S.S. Is it a reflection? Project? In my case, the summative assessment was the actual Socratic Seminar due to time constraints. Students had to demonstrate their learning via participation, the notes they took, and the reflections they wrote. This came out of the graphic organizer that I modified from the Teaching Channel link below.

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Engaging students through the Socratic Seminar

The Socratic Seminar is something I have yet to master, much less even try in the classroom. It takes time, patience, and lots of practice. I’ve been spending some time looking at how other educators do this in their classrooms, and found some good ideas. Since I do not specifically know my students yet, it’s hard to tell what behavioral/mental maturity they have, but my plan is to give it a go. I think probably any student can, at some level, engage in student-to-student discussion and recognize metacognition.  You just have to scaffold it. I am teaching a writing skills class that focuses on the persuasive essay, which I’ve taught before but definitely flopped. I think this is because my students did not know how to identify and make claims and support them.

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