Socratic Directions

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  • 8/14/2019 Socratic Directions


    Where questions, not answers, areWhere questions, not answers, are

    the driving force in thinking.the driving force in thinking.

  • 8/14/2019 Socratic Directions


    What doesWhat does SocraticSocratic mean?mean?

    Socratic comes from the nameSocratic comes from the name


    a classical Greek philosopher who developed aa classical Greek philosopher who developed a

    Theory of KnowledgeTheory of Knowledge::

    the surest way to attainthe surest way to attain reliable knowledgereliable knowledge waswasthrough the practice ofthrough the practice ofdisciplineddisciplined


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    Dialectic meansDialectic meansthe art or practice ofthe art or practice of

    examining opinions or ideas logicallyexamining opinions or ideas logically,,

    often by the method ofoften by the method of

    QuestionQuestion andand AnswerAnswer

    so as toso as to determine their validitydetermine their validity..

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    How did Socrates use the dialectic?How did Socrates use the dialectic?

    He would begin with a discussion of theHe would begin with a discussion of the

    obvious aspects of anyobvious aspects of any

    problemproblem,,feign ignorance about a subject,feign ignorance about a subject,

    and try toand try to draw outdraw out from the other personfrom the other personhis fullest possible knowledge about it.his fullest possible knowledge about it.

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    What is a Socratic Seminar?What is a Socratic Seminar?

    *a method used to understand information*a method used to understand informationbyby creating dialecticcreating dialectic in class regarding ain class regarding a

    specific text.specific text.

    Participants seekParticipants seekdeeper understandingdeeper understanding ofofcomplex ideascomplex ideas in text throughin text through rigorousrigorousthoughtful dialoguethoughtful dialogue, rather than by, rather than bymemorizing bits of information.memorizing bits of information.

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    The Text:The Text:

    *richness in ideas, issues, values and their*richness in ideas, issues, values and theirability to stimulate dialogue.ability to stimulate dialogue.

    A good text raises importantA good text raises important


    There are no right or wrong answers.There are no right or wrong answers.At the end of successful Socratic Seminars,At the end of successful Socratic Seminars,

    participants often leave with moreparticipants often leave with morequestions than they brought with them.questions than they brought with them.

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    The Question:The Question:

    The Socratic Seminar opens with aThe Socratic Seminar opens with a


    posed by the leader. Responses to theposed by the leader. Responses to the

    opening questionopening question generate newgenerate new

    questionsquestions from the leader and participants,from the leader and participants,

    leading toleading to new responsesnew responses..

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    The LeaderThe Leader::

    *dual role as*dual role as

    leaderleaderandand participant.participant.Keeps the discussion focused on the textKeeps the discussion focused on the text


    asking follow-up questionsasking follow-up questions helping clarify positions whenhelping clarify positions when

    arguments become confusedarguments become confused

    involving reluctant participantsinvolving reluctant participants

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    The Participants:The Participants:

    *carry the burden of responsibility for the*carry the burden of responsibility for the

    quality of the seminar.of the seminar.

    There are four ways to do this:There are four ways to do this:




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    SET UP:SET UP:Desks arranged in a circle.

    Text given in advance.

    Rules posted.

    Allow 45 minutes. Leader is ready with an opening question.

    Participants respond with textual evidence for support.

    Participants respond with questions to information

    they hear.

    Students do not raise hands.

    Reflect and Debrief.

    Accountability through final written piece.

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    Expectations of Participants:Expectations of Participants:Did I..Did I..

    Speak loudly and clearly?Speak loudly and clearly? Cite reasons andCite reasons and evidenceevidence for my statements?for my statements? Use theUse the texttext to find support?to find support? ListenListen to others respectfully?to others respectfully?

    Stick with the subject?Stick with the subject? Talk to others, not just to the leader?Talk to others, not just to the leader? ParaphraseParaphrase accurately?accurately? Avoid inappropriate language?Avoid inappropriate language?

    AskAskquestionsquestions to clear up confusion?to clear up confusion? Support others?Support others? Avoid hostile exchanges?Avoid hostile exchanges? Question others in a civil manner?Question others in a civil manner?


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    REMEMBER:REMEMBER: Students need text inStudents need text in advanceadvance..

    Seminars usually last approximatelySeminars usually last approximately 45 minutes45 minutes..

    Questions: open-ended, lead to further questions,Questions: open-ended, lead to further questions,

    open-core-closing,open-core-closing, no right or wrongno right or wrong answeranswer

    TextText SupportSupport

    Fish Bowl technique for large classesFish Bowl technique for large classes

    AccountabilityAccountability? Create an end product, rubrics, not? Create an end product, rubrics, not

    just on speakingjust on speaking

    Discussion not DebateDiscussion not Debate!!

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    Benefits include:Benefits include:

    Time to engage in in-depth discussions,problem solving, and clarification of ideas

    Building a strong, collaborative work


    Enhanced knowledge and research base

    Increased success for all students

    Teaching respect for diverse ideas,

    people, and practicesCreating a positive learning environment

    for all students