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.
When a Socratic Seminar does not go well, the usual suspect is the pre-seminar. Without enough preparation time in this stage, the ensuing conversations will often be dull and lifeless.
Most teachers do not spend enough time preparing a text for dialogue, which usually involves annotations of one kind or another. I usually have students prepare the text the day before the Socratic Seminar so that they can begin the thinking process ahead of time.
The single most important way to get students more engaged is to have them generate their own questions. This will hopefully activate their curiosity and wonder to forge relevance.
The Power of the Socratic Classroom
The most important component of managing interest is curiosity. If students are curious about something, they are likely to engage. This is why it is extremely important for students to generate their own questions, particularly during the pre-seminar stage. Students can also get powerfully interested in seminar when they are able to emotionally connect. For example, texts on the topic of animal testing have almost always worked for me to get students engaged.