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 biggest shifts is the move from being in teacher mode to facilitator mode. Sometimes they can be pretty much the same, but usually they are quite different, even when they appear the same to an outside observer. The difference has to do with the power dynamics in the classroom. How do the students perceive the dynamic in the classroom? How free do they actually feel to speak, not just to share something, but to speak their truths. So one of the biggest shifts is that the teacher must truly become curious and interested in what the students say. It sounds easy, but you can't fake it. Everyone eventually knows if you are actually listening or not, actually empathetic or not. So the move to facilitator involves the essential elements of curiosity and wonder.
The Power of the Socratic Classroom
In a Socratic classroom, a teacher transitions to the role of facilitator, questioner, observer, and especially learner. Therefore, teachers enjoy many of the same benefits as the students. In fact, if all goes well, teachers learn more from a good seminar than the students. By listening and observing, tracking and making notes, teachers will get to know and understand their students better, will get to hear new and exciting insights from shy students, and they can then offer praise and encouragement to certain students who might otherwise never get any.