Leading great Socratic Seminars is HARD!
Yes. let’s be honest. Leading an engaging, civil, and thoughtful Socratic Seminar is difficult! If it were easy, we would see Socratic Seminars flourishing in every classroom in every school. We don’t.
This is why it is called the art and practice of Socratic Seminar leadership. Like all things in life that are rewarding, they take knowledge, skills, and practice. All the efforts to learn and practice Socratic Seminars are completely worth it.
As I suggested in my previous blog, The Four Elements of a Socratic Seminar: A Tool for Reflection, the weaving together of a powerful text, a truly open-ended Opening Question, leading by listening, and always guiding participants in a meta-cognitive individual and collective reflection takes practice.
So, how do you start the practice? First and foremost, attend one of our workshops or trainings. If that is not possible, then here are my BIG FOUR SUGGESTIONS:
1. Watch all our videos. Here is a link to our YouTube Channel. https://www.youtube.com/channel
2. Follow our Recipe for Success. See below.
3. Remember, “there is no bad seminar as long as you reflect.”
4. Lastly, “don’t let perfect get in the way of good.”
RECIPE FOR SUCCESS
1. Leader and students are seated in a CIRCLE, not a rectangle or a square.
2. Leader reviews Ground Rules aloud with students, taking input from students on the most important one(s).
3. Leader clearly addresses inner/outer circle expectations with all students.
4. Leader presents Opening Question in writing and aloud.
5. Leader provides directions and time for a Think-Pair strategy before starting the actual seminar.
6. Leader balances leadership and participation by listening closely for the EMERGING TEXT of the students and responds to the EMERGING TEXT by using Socratic Questioning Strategies.
7. Leader concludes the Socratic Seminar with a REFLECTION activity on the process, not the content of the Socratic Seminar.