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 two 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 in Socratic Seminar, dialogue, listening, inquiry, and critical & creative thinking. He is currently working on a three book series focused on all of these territories.
The best benefit of Socratic Seminar is that students actually have the time and space to practice their thinking skills in a structured and formalized setting. As with developing any set of skills, students need to have Socratic seminars on a fairly regular basis. Weekly if possible, but not less than every two weeks. Otherwise, students will not have enough continuity to build on their skills.
Weekly often seems impossible for a lot of school schedules, but is easily managed if the core subject teachers each have a seminar about once a month.
The Power of the Socratic Classroom
Like most techniques, Socratic Seminar is designed for specific purposes, namely developing academic and social skills. Because seminars involve genuine conversations where students do most of the talking, the list includes better active listening skills, developing courage, clearer speaking skills and more complete interpersonal skills. Because of the depth of inquiry and the number of viewpoints involved, students also develop stronger critical and creative thinking skills, gain practice with close reading strategies, and become more open to other viewpoints. As a constructivist approach where students develop their own understandings, learning how to learn is perhaps the most important benefit of all.