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.
One of the under-appreciated benefits to Socratic Seminar is the data collection and reflection time built into the structure. Since students are gradually given more responsibilities, teachers can shift to the role of researcher.
When harnessed properly, this "action research" can help improve practice and can become excellent professional development. After many years of trial and error, I slowly learned what practices were truly effective for Socratic Seminar.
The Power of the Socratic Classroom
In my early days of facilitating, I tried out numerous ideas and found out the hard way what tends to work and what doesn’t. For example, I once wanted my students to get better at asking questions. I told the group that they were going to be graded exclusively on their questions. Well, I got what I asked for: numerous questions. One student managed to annotate 57 questions in pre-seminar. Although the students asked numerous questions during seminar, they neglected to follow through with any of them before asking more questions that were unrelated to previous ones. The conversation was stilted and lacked coherence and depth.