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.
The first shifts into the unknown are understandably the hardest. Many teachers are skeptical or afraid of handing over responsibility to their students. In some cases, apprehensions are understandable. Theoretically, quite a few things could go wrong. But a lot will go right.
Many teachers are embracing the growth mindset concept, so there's no better place to begin with than ourselves as the role-models. Taking a risk is a fantastic way to experience a little discomfort and put yourself in a growth mindset.
The main mistake that teachers make is that they release too much responsibility too quickly, almost certainly resulting in chaos as the students are suddenly unclear on what they are expected to do. The key is the gradual release of responsibility, where everyone can be successful.
The Power of the Socratic Classroom
If you’re not sure what your purpose is, but you know you want to try Socratic Seminars, then feel free to use them as isolated classes. This will allow you to try them without worrying about how they connect to the curriculum, where they should be placed in a scope and sequence, or even how to assess the students. Your time and energy can be geared toward transitioning toward various roles as a facilitator—such as questioner, clarifier, and coach—observing, listening, and reflecting to make the most out of the conversation. In other words, you have the opportunity to better practice being a “guide on the side,” rather than a “sage on the stage.”