Socratic Seminars


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The Socratic Seminar model was introduced to a group of pre-service teachers - included is an overview of the Socratic Seminar, the process, the question and text explored by the preservice teachers, and their reactios.

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Socratic Seminars

  1. Socratic Seminars An Instructional Unit for Pre-service Teachers
  2. What does Socratic mean? <ul><li>Socratic comes from the name </li></ul><ul><li>Socrates   </li></ul><ul><li>Classical Greek philosopher who developed a </li></ul><ul><li>Theory of Knowledge. </li></ul>
  3. What was Socrates' Theory of Knowledge? <ul><li>Socrates was convinced that the surest way attain </li></ul><ul><li>reliable knowledge was through the practice of </li></ul><ul><li>disciplined </li></ul><ul><li>conversation </li></ul><ul><li>He called this method dialectic . </li></ul>
  4. What does dialectic mean? <ul><li>di-a- lec -tic (noun) means the art or practice of </li></ul><ul><li>examining opinions or ideas logically, </li></ul><ul><li>often by the method of </li></ul><ul><li>Question and Answer </li></ul><ul><li>so as to determine their validity. </li></ul>
  5. How did Socrates use the dialectic? <ul><li>He would begin with a discussion of the obvious </li></ul><ul><li>aspects of any </li></ul><ul><li>problem   </li></ul><ul><li>Socrates would feign ignorance about a subject </li></ul><ul><li>and try to draw out from the other person his </li></ul><ul><li>fullest possible knowledge about it.  </li></ul>
  6. The Vision <ul><li>Socrates believed that enabling students to think for themselves was more important than filling their heads with “right answers.” </li></ul>
  7. The Vision <ul><li>Participants seek deeper understanding of complex ideas through rigorously thoughtful dialogue , rather than by memorizing bits of information. </li></ul>
  8. What is a Socratic Seminar? <ul><li>A Socratic Seminar is a method used to understand information by creating dialectic in class regarding a </li></ul><ul><li>specific text </li></ul><ul><li>Participants seek deeper understanding of complex </li></ul><ul><li>ideas in text through rigorous thoughtful dialogue, </li></ul><ul><li>rather than by memorizing bits of information. </li></ul>
  9. What are Socratic Seminars? <ul><li>Highly motivating form of intellectual and scholarly discourse. </li></ul>
  10. What are Socratic Seminars? <ul><li>Usually range from 30-50 minutes </li></ul><ul><ul><li>An effective Socratic Seminar creates dialogue as opposed to debate. </li></ul></ul>
  11. Benefits include: <ul><li>Time to engage in in-depth discussions, problem solving, and clarification of ideas </li></ul>
  12. Benefits include: <ul><li>Building a strong, collaborative work culture </li></ul>
  13. Benefits include: <ul><li>Enhanced knowledge and research base </li></ul>
  14. Benefits include: <ul><li>Increased success for all students </li></ul>
  15. Benefits include: <ul><li>Teaching respect for diverse ideas, people, and practices </li></ul>
  16. Benefits include: <ul><li>Creating a positive learning environment for all students </li></ul>
  17. Overview and Review <ul><li>http: //wblrd . sk . ca/~bestpractice/socratic/index .html </li></ul>
  18. Four Elements <ul><li>An effective seminar consists of four interdependent elements: </li></ul><ul><li>1. the text being considered </li></ul><ul><li>2. the questions raised </li></ul><ul><li>3. the seminar leader , and </li></ul><ul><li>4. the participants </li></ul>
  19. The Text: <ul><li>Socratic Seminar texts are chosen for richness in ideas, issues, values and their ability to stimulate dialogue. </li></ul><ul><li>A good text raises important </li></ul><ul><li>questions </li></ul><ul><li>There are no right or wrong answers. </li></ul><ul><li>At the end of successful Socratic Seminars, participants often leave with more questions than they brought with them. </li></ul>
  20. The Text <ul><li>Socratic Seminar texts are chosen for their richness in ideas, issues, and values , and their ability to stimulate extended, thoughtful dialogue. </li></ul>
  21. The Text <ul><li>A seminar text can be drawn from readings in literature, history, science, math, health, and philosophy or from works of art or music. </li></ul>
  22. The Question: <ul><li>A Socratic Seminar opens with a </li></ul><ul><li>Question </li></ul><ul><li>posed by the leader or solicited from participants as they acquire more experience in seminars. </li></ul><ul><li>Responses to the opening question generate new </li></ul><ul><li>questions from the leader and participants, leading to new responses. </li></ul>
  23. The Question <ul><li>An opening question has no right answer </li></ul><ul><ul><li>It reflects a genuine curiosity on the part of the leader. </li></ul></ul>Does the factory model of education cause the oppression and failure of many non-mainstream cultures?
  24. The Question <ul><li>An effective opening question leads participants back to the text as they speculate, evaluate, define, and clarify the issues involved. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Responses to the opening question generate new questions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The line of inquiry evolves on the spot rather than being predetermined by the leader. </li></ul></ul>
  25. Starting Dialogue <ul><li>Asking questions is the key! </li></ul><ul><li>A leader prompts the use of dialogue </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Participants learn to be less attached to their ideas and less reliant on persuasion for influencing opinions. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Dialogue is a skill of collaboration that enables groups to create collective thinking. </li></ul>
  26. Discussion & Dialogue <ul><li>Discussion in the dictionary is &quot;a close examination of a subject with interchange of opinions, sometimes using argument, in an effort to reach an agreement. </li></ul>
  27. The Leader: <ul><li>In a Socratic Seminar, the leader plays a dual role as </li></ul><ul><li>Leader and Participant </li></ul><ul><li>Keeps the discussion focused on the text by </li></ul><ul><li>asking follow-up questions </li></ul><ul><li>helping clarify positions when arguments become confused </li></ul><ul><li>involving reluctant participants </li></ul>
  28. The Leader: <ul><li>As a seminar participant, the leader actively engages </li></ul><ul><li>in the group's exploration of the </li></ul><ul><li>text </li></ul><ul><li>To do this effectively, the leader must know the text </li></ul><ul><li>well enough to anticipate varied interpretations and </li></ul><ul><li>recognize important possibilities </li></ul>
  29. The Participants <ul><li>In a Socratic Seminar, participants carry the burden </li></ul><ul><li>of responsibility for the quality of the seminar. </li></ul><ul><li>There are three ways to do this: </li></ul><ul><li>Studying </li></ul><ul><li>Participating </li></ul><ul><li>Sharing </li></ul>
  30. Expectations of Participants <ul><li>Did I….. </li></ul><ul><li>Speak loudly and clearly? </li></ul><ul><li>Cite reasons and evidence for my statements? </li></ul><ul><li>Use the text to find support? </li></ul><ul><li>Listen to others respectfully? </li></ul><ul><li>Stick with the subject? </li></ul><ul><li>Talk to others, not just to the leader? </li></ul><ul><li>Paraphrase accurately? </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid inappropriate language? </li></ul><ul><li>Ask questions to clear up confusion? </li></ul><ul><li>Support others? </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid hostile exchanges? </li></ul><ul><li>Question others in a civil manner? </li></ul><ul><li>Seem prepared? </li></ul>
  31. The Process - Pre-Seminar <ul><li>http: //wblrd . sk .ca/~bestpractice/socratic/process2.html </li></ul>
  32. The Process - During the Seminar <ul><li>http: //wblrd . sk .ca/~bestpractice/socratic/process3.html </li></ul>
  33. The Process - Post Seminar <ul><li>http: //wblrd . sk .ca/~bestpractice/socratic/process4.html </li></ul>
  34. Seminar Planning Form <ul><li>http://www. journeytoexcellence . org/practice/instruction/theories/miscideas/socratic/form . phtml </li></ul>
  35. Self Rating Form <ul><li>http://www. journeytoexcellence . org/practice/instruction/theories/miscideas/socratic/chart . phtml </li></ul>
  36. Observation Form <ul><li>http://www. journeytoexcellence . org/practice/instruction/theories/miscideas/socratic/observation . phtml </li></ul>
  37. Facility Evaluation Form <ul><li> </li></ul>
  38. Assessment Rubric <ul><li>http://www. journeytoexcellence . org/practice/instruction/theories/miscideas/socratic/facilitator . phtml </li></ul><ul><li>Other Sample Assessments </li></ul><ul><li>http: //wblrd . sk . ca/~bestpractice/socratic/assessment .html </li></ul>
  39. References <ul><li>http: //cfbstaff . cfbisd . edu/juliank/AVID/Socratic %20Seminar%20Notes. htm </li></ul>
  40. Socratic Seminar - Factory Model of Education as Discussed by Pre-Service Teachers
  41. The Text <ul><li>Education Schooling, Learning </li></ul><ul><li>http://www. polyarchy .org/education.html </li></ul><ul><li>Competing Models of Education </li></ul><ul><li>http://www. commondreams .org/views05/0226-25. htm </li></ul><ul><li>Remodel Schools into Knowledge Factories </li></ul><ul><li>http://www. pbs .org/merrow/news/usa_today4.html </li></ul><ul><li>Models of Pedagogy </li></ul><ul><li>http://www. riccistreet .net/port80/boardwalk/highered/models. htm </li></ul>
  42. The Questions <ul><li>Does the factory model of education provide students with the skills needed to increase their chance of survival in the United States society? </li></ul><ul><li>Does the factory model of education cause the oppression and failure of many non-mainstream cultures? </li></ul>
  43. Student Reactions <ul><li>Like many, this Socratic seminar was my first and I found it to be enjoyable. I feel that it is beneficial because every voice in the group is heard. I believe that teaching is a profession in which the professionals need to talk more and be more open about their careers and their practices. </li></ul>
  44. Student Reactions <ul><li>One of only drawbacks to the seminar is a time restraint. It is hard to really delve deep into the questions when everyone needs to talk and there are only 60 minutes to talk. Much time is needed to talk about these problems but I feel it is very important for us to begin now, while in training, so that hopefully in the future we will continue the practice at our school sites. </li></ul>
  45. Student Reactions <ul><li>Exchanging ideas in such an environment allows for both a broad, and a deep, understanding of a text, and for the ideas that the text elicits. Also, gratification from a community-based, respectfully conducted, shared experience holds benefits for all. The drawbacks enter when any of the criteria are not met. That is, when any component (leader, participant, question, text) does not meet its responsibility, the quality of the seminar &quot;can be&quot; sacrificed. </li></ul>
  46. Student Reactions <ul><li>I felt really nervous going into the seminar with it being my first stab. I felt like I was prepared being that I read and re-read the literature, made notes and created questions, but then when we all sat down in a circle, my brain flew the coop. A thought would come to mind and then I'd flip through the readings trying to find the source for the thought, and then I'd feel like the conversation had moved on. But, I did like the structure and felt our group worked at being respectful and being supportive of what our fellow classmates had contributed to the conversation. </li></ul>
  47. Student Reactions <ul><li>Well, for this being my first Socratic seminar ever, I was a bit blown away by the whole process. In general, I like to think before I speak- al least in the educational world, and I found it very hard to listen to what other's were saying while trying to find the quote or piece to back up my comment. However, I did find the conversation to move nicely and we really did come up with new questions and answers to the topics. I was afraid this was going to turn into a messy debate over personal opinions- we stuck to the directions nicely. </li></ul>
  48. Student Reactions <ul><li>The ability to search out relevant quotes and formulate your own thoughts while simultaneously listening deeply to others' comments is a pretty specialized skill and one that I think develops the more you use the Socratic seminar model. I think we did amazingly well for a first-try. A Socratic seminar is very much a process - it does not fit neatly into a small period of time, The great thing about learning it well, though, is that it is very empowering to know that you have just as much control over the conversation as anyone else . . . </li></ul>