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.
Teachers sometimes get stressed about crafting questions using Webb's DOK or Bloom's taxonomy, but the best questions come from genuine curiosity and wonder. The best Opening Questions have multiple right answers that are justifiable in the text.
The Power of the Socratic Classroom
The opening question launches the formal dialogue part of a Socratic Seminar. Because the goal is to have genuine conversation, the opening question should definitely not have a right answer. Instead, it should challenge students to look closely at the text and to think about the ideas and issues in meaningful ways. A good opening question is immediately provocative and engaging for most students, and leads to conversation anchored in the text. A bad opening question polarizes students and potentially results in arguing and debating. A good opening question opens up lines of thinking toward multiple, justifiable answers. A bad opening question forces students down a narrow path of thinking, toward assumptions or pre-established agendas.