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.
In over 20 years as a teacher and administrator, I have yet to come across a single technique that is as powerful as Socratic Seminar. That's not to say that other techniques or approaches aren't useful — it's simply that dialogue accomplishes many things simultaneously. Many of my former students who are now adults don't remember a lot from middle school, but they definitely remember Socratic Seminars and how much they learned from each other.
The Power of the Socratic Classroom
When matching the benefits and outcomes of seminar to numerous taxonomies, core principles, and belief statements, with very few exceptions, Socratic Seminar will meet most or all of the criteria. A very clear example of this can be seen from Zemelman, Daniels, and Hyde’s Best Practice: Bringing Standards to Life in America’s Classrooms. In this text, the authors synthesized fourteen “interlocking principles, assumptions, or theories” from the conclusions of numerous national curriculum projects. Whether you agree about their “best practices” or not is certainly not the point here. What is important is that these components were drawn from numerous schools across many disciplines and represent a wide array of legitimate concerns and ideas. Despite the variety, Socratic Seminar directly addresses twelve of the fourteen and can potentially address the remaining two. That’s the power of Socratic Seminar.