Discussions are important classroom tools—and those that focus on science in society have the potential to interest and engage students. In these kinds of discussions, students can apply their understanding of science content, practice articulating a position, and collectively build a deeper understanding of a complex topic. However, a conversation can quickly veer out of control if expectations are not clearly set by the teacher and if the discussion is not structured appropriately.
Photo by jrobertsplhs I have been using Socratic seminar as a method of assessment of student learning in my classes for some timebut last year I started asking my students to complete a simple reflection after the seminar and hand it in the next day. As a result, I really have a window into what my students are learning in the seminars.
Socratic seminar questions 1 the past, I assigned the essential question for the seminar, but I have learned to give control over formulating the question to the students. Students were able to pull in ideas about what happens when the natural order of things is upended and people are not compassionate for others.
Every student was able to contribute thoughtfully to the seminar Socratic seminar questions 1, but when I read their reflections, I understood exactly how much thinking and learning had taken place. The range of definitions, all of which influenced my own, surprised me. I never thought of justice being done to someone in that way, nor did I see justice as when a character finally realized his or her mistake.
After the discussion, it influenced my own definition because I took into account that a when character realized their mistakes it was because enough harm had been done to others around them or to them themselves.
Changing views of the definition of justice were a theme in the reflections. Another student shifted gears based on a comment another student made. Throughout the seminar, I mostly considered the sense of justice as individual characters. I thought about the evil characters and their tragic ends.
However, [Student 2] pointed out that we should instead inspect the text as a whole and look at the entire book in order to see if justice was served or not.
This actually changed the entire course of what I had in mind of the texts and the Socratic seminar.
It changed my viewpoints as I started looking at the natural order and the essence of what role [the] god[s] played in the texts. It is exciting to me that his comments were so influential in the thinking of his peers this time. I thought that this was interesting, since I usually tend to think of justice as being a punishment to fit the crime.
I ask students to reflect on how they did and make goals for the next seminar, both for themselves as individuals and for the group. The student mentioned in the comment above, who influenced his peers with his definition of justice, wrote the following: I thought I did really well on this seminar and achieved my goals I set for myself from the last one.
Next time I think I should try to include more people in the discussion by asking questions to them. I think I should ask more clarifying questions to the group in order to dig deeper into the text, and to become more specific on certain topics.
Another student, an English language learner, who was able to contribute more comments in this seminar than he previously has done in other seminars, reflected that [Student 3] had lots of great comments this time.
The most impressing one was the one he spoke at the start of the conversation.
· Socratic Seminar Questions: Name: Directions: Please answer the following questions on separate sheets of paper, using textual evidence (direct quotes or paraphrases with citations—include page #s) 1. Can you really narrow the range of thought by narrowing vocabulary, as nationwidesecretarial.com · The Socratic seminar is a formal discussion, based on a text, in which the leader asks open-ended questions. Within the context of the discussion, students listen closely to the comments of others, thinking critically for themselves, and articulate their own thoughts and their responses to the thoughts of others (nationwidesecretarial.com)nationwidesecretarial.com View Notes - Socratic Seminar Questions from ENGLISH Pre-AP Eng at South County Secondary. - Questions Jasdev Singh Period 1 Pre-AP English 10 November 10, Socratic Seminar Questions: nationwidesecretarial.com://nationwidesecretarial.com
He said the justice is served not only means the justice is served physically, such as bad people being punished by death or being killed.
His reflection was much longer than his previous ones, and I could tell the discussion had excited and invigorated him.
When it was suggested that we define the word justice, I never thought of different meanings behind it. I never thought of justice as learning from their mistakes. What an incredible insight.
How much they learned about the notion of justice in these two books through talking with each other. A student acknowledged the difficulty of planning a seminar and running it without my interference: I think we have been doing a great job with structure.
This time we started pretty weak jumping everywhere, but after the first few comments, I sorted things out and we found a structure that worked for this seminar. Actually, structuring a seminar without restricting it too much is not easy.
I think it should be our task prior to the seminar to imagine how it could be structured based on the question. Another student acknowledged a difficulty the class is still wrestling with: I still think we have side arguments and sometimes we went off topic.
It will be better if we can all try to answer the main points of the questions. Besides, some people always just talk too much and did not let others to say anything, so I think we should acknowledge this problem so that quiet people can speak more.
As the teacher, I can see that she is right in her criticism, though the group has made progress in this regard.
I know they have more progress to make. I believe that this was our best discussion yet, in terms of everyone contributing, but I still believe that as a class we have room to grow.I definitely use Socratic Seminars in my classroom. This year I asked students to develop their own rubric for the requirements and was impressed with the amount of maturity they showed in considering the requirements.
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Questions can be extraordinary learning tools. A good question can open minds, shift paradigms, and force the uncomfortable but transformational cognitive dissonance that can help create thinkers.
SOCRATIC SEMINAR: GUIDELINES © Authentic Education page 3 group along on the quest for meaning as much as possible – what we like to call Intellectual Outward. 1 The Socratic Circle. What does Socratic mean? The word “Socratic” comes from the name Socrates (ca.
B.C.), a Classical Greek philosopher who developed a Theory of Knowledge.