Dialogue and Debate—the Difference? Dialogue –Submit best thinking to improve –Temporary suspension of beliefs –Remains open ended –Respects participants and doesn’t seek to offend Debate –Submit best thinking to DEFEND –Believe wholeheartedly in the correctness of beliefs –Demands a winner –Demands contrary positions and may belittle
What is a Socratic Seminar? A Socratic Seminar is a method used to understand information by creating dialectic in class regarding a specific text, visual or experience Participants seek deeper understanding of complex ideas through rigorous thoughtful dialogue, rather than by memorizing bits of information.
The Facilitator: In a Socratic Seminar, the facilitator plays a dual role as the Leader and Moderator Keeps the discussion focused and on topic by Asking follow-up questions Helping to clarify positions when thoughts become confused Involving reluctant participants
The Participants In a Socratic Seminar, participants carry the burden of responsibility for the quality of the seminar. There are three ways to do this: Preparing Participating Listening
The Participants Should remember that the goal is to: Seek first to understand and then to be understood
What to do during the seminar Speak loudly and clearly Don’t raise your hand, have a dialogue Give reasons and evidence for your statements Listen to others respectfully Stick to the subject Talk to each other, not just to the facilitator Ask for help to clear up confusion Support each other Avoid hostile exchanges Question others in a civil manner Be prepared
“There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance. “ –Socrates
Socrates was a Greek philosopher who lived between 470-399 B.C. He turned Greek attention toward questions of ethics and virtue. Although Socrates was not a scientist, his way of questioning to find out answers laid a foundation for the way that science works today. Socrates spent much time in the Athens marketplace (the Agora) where he held conversations with townspeople. He was known for exposing ignorance and conceit. Despite having many followers, Socrates was disliked by people in Athens, Greece. At the age of 70, he was convicted of atheism, treason and corruption of the young. He was sentenced to death by a jury. He had the opportunity to escape from prison, but he chose not to. He valued the law so much, that he chose to fulfill his sentence of death by drinking hemlock instead of escaping and living in banishment for the rest of his life.
What if I haven’t had Socratic Seminar training? What if no one talks? What if they just end up arguing? How do I arrange the room? How much prep time does this take? How do I teach them how to do this? Do I have to assign a grade? WHAT WORRIED ME…