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.
Mini-lessons are vital if a group is going to perform better. Sometimes mini-lessons can be planned ahead of time, especially around topics such as Active Listening or How to Cite a Text. But the best mini-lessons often emerge as a specific need, something that is holding the group back from functioning as a cohesive team. Most of the time, a simple question can provide the next mini-lesson topic: "What do we need to do better next time?"
One area of note is definitely Active Listening. Groups often can't proceed until the participants truly know how to listen. This includes how to disagree with someone in a useful manner. We can't know if students are actually listening, but we can expect and look for the ingredients: maintaining eye contact, nodding, having fun, asking questions, and so on.
The Power of the Socratic Classroom
Mini-lessons can target skills or information that students need before, during, or after the seminars. Mini-lessons that focus on pre-seminar skills tend to focus on pre-reading or preparatory practices that help students comprehend, decode, or interpret the text. Some mini-lessons focus on skills needed during the seminar itself, such as listening or taking turns. Other mini-lessons focus on post-seminar skills, such as reflecting, synthesizing, or transferring ideas.