What is a Socratic Seminar? A Socratic seminar is a way of teaching founded by the Greek philosopher Socrates. Socrates believed that: students learn best by asking questions. It is the teacher’s job to moderate the discussion instead of leading the discussion.
Why do we have Socratic Seminars Socratic Seminars help us engage a text in class. The thought process is when we work together to understand a text it will help everyone’s understanding.
How do we prepare for a Socratic Seminar? The day prior to the seminar you will be given a Socratic Seminar prep sheet. Your job is to complete steps 1 – 4 for homework. It is essential you read the text and prepare yourself with important questions and quotations.
What type of questions should I ask during the seminar? There are three levels of questions. You should come up with a minimum of 1 question per level.
Level 1 (Knowledge Questions): Knowledge means being able to show understanding by talking, writing, signing, drawing. Please use the following stems in creating your Knowledge Questions: Can you state, in your own words? Can you describe? Can you defend your position? Can you summarize the information?
Level II (Application Questions): Applicationmeans supporting your ideas with evidence. Please use the following stems in creating your Application Questions: Explainhow … Explainwhy … Interpretthe reasons … Compare and contrast … Connect and explain …
Level III (Synthesis Questions): Synthesis means combining or connecting two different elements. In terms of the Socratic Seminar you will be connecting two texts with each other OR connecting a text to the outside world.
Level III (Synthesis Questions) Continued Please use the following stems in creating your Synthesis Questions: Imagine … What would happen if …? Hypothesize … Theorize … Speculate… How is Text similar to Outside World?
What will the seminar look like? The classroom will be arranged in a two concentric circles. You will be assigned to either seminar A or seminar B. You will be assigned a partner in the opposite seminar. FOR EXAMPLE: If I am in seminar A my partner will be in seminar B Mr. Sun-K will be facilitating, but NOT participating in the seminar.
What’s the deal with partners? If I am in Seminar B, I will be sitting in the outside circle taking notes for my partner who is in the inner circle participating in the Seminar A. Then we will switch. I will participate in the seminar and my partner will take notes for me. We will be switching notes at the end of each seminar to be used for Step 5 of the Socratic Seminar Prep Sheet.
How does the discussion work in a seminar? The seminar is to serve as a discussion, not a lecture. Just like in a casual conversation, no one begins the conversation, a conversation begins naturally.
Seminar Guidelines Please listen and look at each other when you speak. One person speaks at a time. Each person will have a chance to ask a question. Respond to the person who asks the question. Use evidence from the text to support yourself. Always treat each other with mutual respect.
How will I be assessed on the seminar? By completing the seminar prep sheet. (30 pts). By contributing to the conversation following these guidelines: - Aska question. Respondto a question. Cite evidence from the text. All three requirements: 30 points. Two requirements: 20 points. 1 requirement:10 points. No requirements: 0 points.
What do we need to do after the seminar? The last 5 - 10 minutes of class on the day of a seminar: Please complete step 5 of the prep sheet using your notes from your partner as a reference. Please staple your partner’s notes to the back of your prep sheet and turn it in the “In-Box.”