Socratic Seminar

Try It

Give students advance notice that they’ll have the opportunity to debate each other, along with the topic/question (e.g., a student-generated topic, a question from Curiosity Time). Set aside a class period for this student discussion and debate. This video explores a more formal Socratic Seminar. But you can accomplish a lot with occasional short blocks of discussion/debate time (10-20 minutes) among smaller groups of students. These can be done in person or virtually.

Discuss It

  • How engaged were your students?
  • What were your biggest surprises?
  • Did students interact with each other in ways different from how they’d relate to you (the teacher)?
  • How would you contrast what is learned during a Socratic Seminar versus during a normal class period?
  • What role did you play in steering the discussion? How can you make these seminars entirely student-run?

Go Deeper

Listen to the below podcast to hear teachers discussing how to bring Socratic Seminar into your classroom.