Like most techniques, Socratic Seminar is designed for specific purposes, namely developing academic and social skills. Because seminars involve genuine conversations where students do most of the talking, the list includes better active listening skills, developing courage, clearer speaking skills and more complete interpersonal skills. Because of the depth of inquiry and the number of viewpoints involved, students also develop stronger critical and creative thinking skills, gain practice with close reading strategies, and become more open to other viewpoints. As a constructivist approach where students develop their own understandings, learning how to learn is perhaps the most important benefit of all.
When students are engaged in their own learning, when they are creating their own meanings and making connections to their own lives, they will enjoy learning.
There are many skills that students practice and develop in such a collaborative environment. Howard Zeiderman from the Touchstones Discussion Project, for example, adds: admitting when you are wrong, learning from and teaching others, and becoming aware of how others see you. Michael Strong, author of The Habit of Thought, adds: taking ideas seriously, sensitivity and politeness, integrity and honesty, willingness to accept criticism, and responsibility and initiative. Matt Copeland includes several others: critical reflection, improved writing skills, conflict resolution, love of reading, and community-building. Alexis Wiggins, author of The Best Class You Never Taught, also includes developing empathy, better homework completion, and improved self-assessment.
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