The Socratic seminar is often discussed in the context of English language arts classes. Among its benefits, practitioners mention drawing on the value of open conversations to foster deep thinking and analysis, developing a group culture for learning, and enhancing communication skills.
All of these benefits are equally valuable in the world language classroom, and Socratic seminars deserve more attention in this context. I’ve been working to bring Socratic seminars to Spanish classes, and these are my classroom-tested suggestions to incorporate them in a way that allows students to become more robust, independent, and critical thinkers.
SIX TIPS FOR USING SOCRATIC SEMINARS IN WORLD LANGUAGE CLASSROOMS
1. Start with a loose structure: A quick search into Socratic seminars yields a great number of possible structures. Some of them are quite intricate and may be unrealistic for your classes at the outset.
In your first Socratic seminars, a loose structure without assigned roles is probably the best way to ensure participation.