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.
I often go into classrooms and look for a few simple things: student engagement, depth of questions, pacing, curiosity & wonder, and others. But behind everything, there is a simple idea in my mind: joy. Learning is naturally enjoyable. Sure, there are times when we must struggle to understand something, but on the whole, learning is inherently joyful.
One thing people underestimate about Socratic Seminar is how fun it can be. Again, there are the difficult times, but because students are making meaning together, they often enjoy the process. They feel capable and valued, empowered to explore and ask questions, to discover new ideas and nuances. It's natural and certainly what students and teachers deserve.
So when I don't see joy in the classroom, I often recommend that the teacher simply think about passing more responsibility over to the students. It doesn't have to change the lesson plan at all, and often just means shifting who is asking the questions, from the teacher to the students. It's an important shift to activate the natural curiosity in the students and one step toward more joyful learning.
The Power of the Socratic Classroom
When students are engaged in their own learning, when they are creating their own meanings and making connections to their own lives, they will enjoy learning.