Socratic Seminar

Ready to explore the practice further?
Watch the full video below!

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.