Saturday, February 20, 2016

Socratic Seminar

The DP Literature students, eight in total, sat in a circle, ready to begin a Socratic seminar on intertextuality in the works of Langston Hughes.  They knew their respective roles and responsibilities to keep the conversation going, but I never knew how well any seminar would go.  That day, the students built on prior comments, respectfully challenged others’ assertions, provided textual evidence supporting their statements, demonstrated their understanding, and maintained a discussion at a very high intellectual level for almost 45 minutes.  Even students who normally were reluctant participants in class conversations actively and passionately presented their observations and defended their conclusions.  The level of intellectual engagement and demonstration of mastery in that Socratic seminar is now the baseline against which I measure the success of other classes.

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