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.
Students are often used to raising hands and being called on as individuals and class discussions are often mediated by the teacher. So it should come as no surprise that asking students to function as a thinking team often presents challenges. The storming stage of group development often requires a lot of push and pull in order to help with group cohesion.
The Power of the Socratic Classroom
Have a conversation with your students to remind them that Socratic Seminars are group endeavors. The analysis and conversation are what is actually important, not individuals acting in isolation. Place value on the things that will improve your seminars. If your seminars need more questions, then try grading those higher for a few weeks. If there aren’t enough examples from the text, then weigh those more for a while. Create new categories that the students can strive toward. For example, if a student interjects irrelevant comments into the conversation, then begin tracking irrelevant and relevant comments. Over time, this will make all of the seminars better and will give students the focus on the skills they need.
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