Socratic Seminars

Why:
The objective of a Socratic Seminar is to achieve a deeper understanding about the ideas and values in a text. In the Seminar, participants systematically question and examine issues and principles related to a particular content, and articulate different points-of-view.

  1. It helps develop critical thinking skills.
  2. It trains students to think quickly.
  3. It makes it necessary for students to be prepared and attentive.

This learning activity will work best in a learning environment where students are comfortable to speak in public. Read more about #community activities.

How:
1: Prepare students with expectations for participation before the seminar.
2: Provide students with seminar questions in advance. Offer a mix of required and optional seminar questions.
3: Open the seminar with a round robin question, a sequence or series that involves the participation of everyone in a group.
4: Get comfortable with the uncomfortable.
5: Facilitate, don’t dominate.
6: Allow time for reflection after the seminar:

  • What did you find most interesting about today’s seminar?
  • What did you find most surprising?
  • Did anything make you change your mind or think more deeply? What, how, and why/why not?
  • What did you contribute to today’s seminar? Be specific.
  • What might you do differently at our next seminar? Be specific.

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