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 four 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 Socratic Seminar, Active Listening, Inquiry, Teaching & Learning, and Critical & Creative Thinking. He is currently working on a book of poetry, a short story collection, and several novels.
Dialogue and discussion are not the same, though they can appear similar in the classroom. Discussions are often for eliciting opinions and engaging students. But they are also typically funneled through the teacher. Students in discussions rarely build on each other's thoughts. In dialogue, though, the goal is to build ideas in order to explore text complexities and nuances. Students respond to each other in order to achieve deeper thinking. Teachers must establish specific classroom norms in order to elevate a discussion into a collaborative dialogue.
The Power of the Socratic Classroom
Dialogue is characterized by a powerful cooperative atmosphere, where all participants work together to form better, stronger, shared understandings. Listen to a dialogue and the goal is clearly to deepen a topic, extend understandings, and create and test new ideas. Watch a Socratic Seminar and the teacher may even appear to be an ordinary, equal participant. Even if a participant emerges from Socratic Seminar with the same opinion as when he or she entered, it will be strengthened and enlarged through the inquiry process. This is not just opinion-swapping.