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.
The post-seminar often takes two different forms. Either there is a debrief of how things went (process), or there is an extension of the ideas, issues and values from the seminar (product or text). A debrief of the process should always aim to make the group better. An extension activity either deepens the thinking, applies the ideas in a new context, promotes new iterations, etc. The post-seminar can be as quick as: "What did we do well today and what needs improvement?" Or it can involve entire projects that spiral out of the conversation.
The Power of the Socratic Classroom
THERE IS ALWAYS a need for a post-seminar debrief or extension simply because many seminars are never long enough to thoroughly explore complex ideas. Just think about philosophical ideas that have been discussed over the centuries with no sign of concluding any time soon. In addition, Socratic Seminars are very focused on a large number of skills, and those take years of practice to hone. Ball and Brewer write: “A post-seminar assignment enriches and extends the learning, and thus maximizes all the foregoing efforts of students and teachers … Teachers should use the post-seminar activity to increase learning and to satisfy curricular objectives.”