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.
Not all questions are created equally. Some ask for specific facts or details, others for opinions, and still others call for speculation. Leading questions have implied expectations and answers within them. Many teachers ask polarized questions, which only have two possible choices presented in them.
What we are searching for in Socratic Seminar are interpretive questions -- questions that have multiple right answers that are justifiable with evidence. These types of questions usually must be planned and strategized for.
Perhaps the most important type of question for Socratic Seminar is one that is asked from genuine curiosity and wonder.
The Power of the Socratic Classroom
Students and teachers already ask questions, though, right? What’s the problem? The issue is that many of the questions being asked in schools are not challenging and do not demand a lot of thinking. Lewin writes: “Yes, students already ask us questions. But it has been my experience as both a classroom teacher for 24 years and a staff developer in schools for more than a decade that the questions kids ask typically either seek clarification on procedural matters (Which numbers are we supposed to do?); attempt to cut a deal (Can we write two paragraphs instead of three?); or try to detour the group from the lesson (What time does this period end?).”