Do You Have 21st-Century Skills to Help Your Students Succeed?
Do Your Students Have 21st-Century Skills to Think for Themselves?
The Power of the Socratic Classroom has the answers you are looking for—answers that will supply the strategies to show students how to succeed into the future. A future that has unknown products, unidentified jobs, and unanticipated challenges.
In Socratic Seminar, teachers shift to the role of facilitator, where they help their students develop the collaborative interpersonal skills, the critical and creative thinking skills, and the speaking and listening skills to face the upcoming challenges of the 21st century.
Charles Fischer has taught in public and private schools in a variety of settings, from rural Maine to inner city Atlanta. In the past 20 years, he has worked with a wide range of students from 4th grade to AP English and has been nominated for Teacher of the Year four times. He has his Master’s degree in Teaching & Learning from the University of Southern Maine, and received his B.A. in English Literature and Creative Writing from Binghamton University. His latest book, The Power of the Socratic Classroom, has won two awards, including the NIEA Best Education Book. His first novel, Beyond Infinity, won a 2014 Independent Publisher Book Award bronze medal (YA fiction). His areas of expertise are in Socratic Seminar, dialogue, listening, inquiry, and critical & creative thinking. He is currently working on a three book series focused on all of these territories.
This is always an important shift in the classroom. Students are often very trained to raise their hands, but when we move to a seminar situation, we want students to assume greater responsibilities. This includes and often starts with figuring out how to take turns. This is often hit-or-miss, trial-and-error, but the the students often appreciate the endeavor.
A lot of teachers shift to use a talking stick, talking chips, or other external turn-taking strategy, but I have rarely found that these work well. Often the focus seems to shift from the conversation about the text, to the use and misuse of the talking device.
The Power of the Socratic Classroom
It is worth repeating that students should NOT raise their hands in Socratic Seminar. Instead, they should learn how to otherwise appropriately listen and take turns. Teach Socratic Seminar students that there are subtle nonverbal cues from both speakers and listeners to look for instead of just raising hands. Students can familiarize themselves by observing other groups, re-watching their own seminars, and watching movies with the sound off. Wolvin and Coakley describe three sets of regulatory cues students can practice looking for and using.