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.
In one form or another, this is the question that I get asked the most: How do I get students to participate? Although there are many techniques to try, teachers must take a serious look at the ecology or culture of the classroom. A simple thing like sarcasm may be stopping several students from participating, not only in seminars but in class in general. Most students want to share their thoughts and ideas. Just watch those same quiet students at lunch and they are likely talking a lot. So one important approach is: Why aren't students participating?
The Power of the Socratic Classroom
Make a list of everything you can think of that could cause a student to not participate. What could be causing potential stigma, shame, fear, or embarrassment? What barriers could you take down? How could you create a safer space? How could you encourage and reward risk-taking? Keep in mind, if there are students dominating the seminars, they will need to be dealt with simultaneously in order to create space for shy students. If necessary, meet with students outside of class. Have them make anonymous lists of reasons they don’t participate, and what would motivate them to take risks.