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.
Teachers are often surprised when I suggest that they should have students practice asking questions. I'm still not even sure why they are surprised. As humans, we need to practice everything!
A lot of animals are highly functional shortly after they are born. But we humans take years to do even basic things like feed ourselves. We have to practice moving our limbs, crawling, walking, and talking. And then we need years and years to "figure ourselves out."
It should come as no surprise, then, that we would need to practice asking questions. Not only do we need to find what we are curious about, but we then need to formulate the language to properly express that curiosity. It takes practice!
The Power of the Socratic Classroom
Early in school, students learn and practice the key question words: who, what, when, where, how, and why. Teaching about questions after this, however, often slows or stops. Sometimes students will be exposed to types of questions in textbooks, ones that are labeled “Critical Thinking” or “Synthesis.” Some textbooks have pullout boxes and brief mini-lessons that teach about questions, but these are often scattered and disconnected. Opportunities for students to write or ask their own questions are much less frequent, and in fact, in many learning situations, students are even discouraged from asking their own questions.