Socratic Seminars

The aspiration:

“The effort of Socratic Practice is to develop students’ own standard of intellectual judgment by means of placing the onus of responsibility for understanding entirely on them and providing them with the tools and experiences necessary to develop their intellectual judgment. ‘Does it make sense to you?’ is the central question to students whenever we are working to understand a text. As long as the student knows that, whether by didactic instruction or by subtle conversational manipulation, she will ultimately be led to the ‘right’ answer, she will never rely on her own judgment in the deepest sense. In order to come to rely on her judgment, and to feel a need to refine it, she must continually be put in situations where she is completely on her own.” (From Michael Strong’s The Habit of Thought, p. 15)

* My interview with Marsha Enright on What Socratic Seminars Are and Why They Work.

Four minutes of video excerpts from a Socratic discussion of Marx and Engels’s Communist Manifesto. [Yes, Marx, despite the risk of being misinterpreted again by certain parties.]

Marsha Familaro Enright with Darian George and Jason Ware give a three-minute overview of Socratic Seminars.

Further resources on Socratic Seminars:
* Michael Strong, The Habit of Thought [Amazon].
* Donald L. Finkel, Teaching with Your Mouth Shut [Amazon].
* Plato’s Meno is the classical source of Socratic dialogue.
* Marsha Enright, Socratic Seminars Principles—Learning to Think First-Hand [pdf].
* Active Reading–Having a Conversation with the Author [Word].
Suggestions for reading and annotating a text [pdf].
* Socratic Circle Evaluation Form [Word].
* Peter Senge, “Team Learning.” Chapter 11 of Senge’s classic work on business management, The Fifth Discipline: The Art & Practice of The Learning Organization.

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