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.
I think consistency is the answer to all of these questions. Whether a two-part answer is really two contributions or one episode of talking can be determined by you as the facilitator. Just stay consistent so that any data collected remains valid across different classes and even school years. Track anything and everything that you value as a teacher, and/or what the group needs in order to improve, and/or what the students suggest.
The Power of the Socratic Classroom
After my very first few seminars, I started with the simplest version of tracking: merely counting every time a student contributed to the seminar. Although this seems easy at first, the reality is that even such a crude system can be remarkably convoluted by personal decisions. For example, if a student uses a conjunction in a contribution to class, does that count as two separate ideas or one sentence? Does a long anecdote with one main point count as one contribution or several because it is a lot of talking? Does a question count the same as a statement? In general, each facilitator should make his or her own decisions on these and then stay consistent.