Making the Leap to Socratic Seminars
Over the past few years, I've attended summer workshop after summer workshop that touted the merits of Socratic seminars. The discussions revolved around open-ended questions facilitated by not teachers, as I'd previously understood such seminarsbut students. Perhaps it is appropriate that I often left these workshops with more questions than answers.
I just couldn't picture how this would work in my 6th grade English/language arts classroom. How would I guide my students to discuss topics in a civil way and connect their ideas to their academic learning? How would I ensure each student was engaged? How would I assess students? What if no one had anything to say?
But this past year, I pushed aside my own desire for control and gave more agency to my students. It was risky, especially when facing high-stakes testing and a new evaluation system. But my students were more engaged in learning than ever. And I knew that I didn't need to worry about the evaluation rubric if my students could sustain...
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