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 get asked how to generate useful questions for visual arts. There are numerous techniques, but the one I like to share shows how the right approach can make the questioning process fairly easy. Remember, that the opening question for a seminar should have multiple right answers justifiable in the text.
So, for any visual art, one technique is to divide the piece into nine parts by superimposing a tic-tac-toe grid. Then generate questions using the grid squares. Here are some examples:
Which square is most important for understanding this piece? Which square is least interesting? Which one best shows the artist's techniques?
The Power of the Socratic Classroom
Visual arts, such as paintings, photographs, optical illusions, and film clips often work well because of the inherent interpretive complexities. Artists such as Salvador Dali, Leonora Carrington, M. C. Escher, Abelardo Morell, Remedios Varo, Kurt Wenner, Kay Sage, Shepard Fairey, Erik Johansson, and Michael Parkes all have great pieces for seminar. Street artists always intrigue me, often because they have hidden messages behind their art that students can discover and uncover during seminar. Some street artist suggestions: Banksy, Above, Roa, Laguna, SpY, Hyuro, and Mentalgassi.