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.
It's important to realize that norms or agreements are much more in keeping with Socratic Seminar. Because a teacher is trying to pass authority and ownership to the students, "rules" is the wrong approach. A rule is a top-down authority move.
Now, a classroom might need rules, especially in situations where there are school-wide ones that must be posted in every classroom. And there may be some rules that need are non-negotiable
Otherwise, norms or agreements are much more in fitting with a democratic process. I have asked numerous seminar groups over the years what would be needed to have productive dialogues, and they generally all come up with the same essential concepts. The language is different each time, of course, but the need to listen to and respect each other, patience and taking turns and so on.
Trust the process. The students want to have quality conversations.
The Power of the Socratic Classroom
Teachers should begin by establishing specific conversation norms or agreements for what to do and also what not to do. Things to do: take turns, “listen with your eyes,” cite the text, ask questions, stay focused, and build upon what others have stated. Things not to do: raise hands, repeat what’s already been stated, interrupt others, engage in side conversations, and share irrelevant stories.