Enriching Student Engagement Through Discussions
Background of Socratic Seminar
1. Pass out a short passage of text to all students.
2. Allow time for students to read, analyze, and take notes the text.
3. Answer questions based on the text.
4. Seperate students into two circles (inner and outer).
5. Monitor all students to see that they are fulfilling their roles as inner circle and outer circle participants.
6. Direct students to assess performance using a rubric then switch roles
Inner Circle (Student's Roles/Expectations)
1. Discussing responses to the questions and piggy backing on other's thoughts
2. Listening to what others are saying
3. Stating evidence or reasons with support from the text
4. Moving the discussion to a deeper level
5. Providing relevant and insightful comments
6. Staying focused on the discussion
7. Using appropriate cues or starters to respond to other students
Outer Circle (Student's Roles/Expectations)
1. Use active listening skills
2. Saving thoughts for later discussion by annotating notes
3. Analyze the discussion using inner circle's expectations
4. Provide constructive and evaluative feedback
The Socratic seminar is a formal discussion, based on a text, in which the leader asks
open-ended questions. Within the context of the discussion, students listen closely to the comments of others, thinking critically for themselves, and articulate their own thoughts and their responses to the thoughts of others. They learn to work cooperatively and to question intelligently and civilly.
-Elfie Israel “Examining Multiple Perspectives in Literature”