Facilitating seems like a lot of multitasking, which I’m not good at. What do you suggest?
I’m not confident that I can think quickly on my feet to ask follow-up questions. What do I do?
Don’t worry and get started anyway. Start by slowing the seminars down by adding wait time after each speaker to give yourself an opportunity to think (3-5 seconds after each speaker should work). Take your time creating the conversation map or tracking student contributions. Let the students know that you value their input and that you want to listen and record everything.
Keep a laminated list of follow-up questions, the 16 Habits of Mind, and/or facilitator actions nearby and constantly refer to them during the seminar. Use them as checklists mechanically until you get the hang of when and how to use them more naturally. Keep your tracking codes simple, for example, start by using the S-P-Q-R system and add other codes as you can.
Most importantly, pass the responsibilities over to the students as early as possible. Give the students a copy of Ways to Participate in Socratic Seminar and get them participating in new ways. Even if the students aren’t good at multi-tasking either, they only need to be responsible for a single job. Tell them what you want and hope to accomplish and recruit them into the purpose.
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