Socratic Seminars

Discussion in 'General Education' started by MissNikki, Apr 13, 2014.

  1. MissNikki

    MissNikki Comrade

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    Apr 13, 2014

    Hi All,

    I had my first Socratic Seminar last week which went very well and would like to try it again this week using a fishbowl format. From what I've read online, this will help students get their "fair share" of talking time in. My classes are 18-20 students per period. Any resources or suggestions for fishbowl seminars? Do I tell the students the day of so they all prepare the same way regardless of whether or not they're talking or observing a classmate?

    Thanks for your help!
     
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  3. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Apr 13, 2014

    I'm not sure what you mean by fishbowl model. I do Socratic Seminars with the whole class, and keep track of who has spoken to ensure fair shares. When I prep for Socratic Seminars, I usually spend three days prepping... one day thoroughly reading a text, one day brainstorming questions with a partner and discussing the text with a partner, and a third day preparing for four to five specific questions... finding evidence, forming opinions, etc. My students always thoroughly enjoy it and get a lot out of it.

    Based on your post, I'm guessing a fishbowl method involves half/two-thirds of the class watching while half/one-third actually participates. Truthfully, I wouldn't care much for that and don't think my students would get much out of it. Some of the observers would "tune out," and others would get frustrated that they don't have the opportunity to respond.
     
  4. mathteachertobe

    mathteachertobe Cohort

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    Apr 13, 2014

    The way I've seen it done, the class is paired up and when your group is not speaking you are observing and taking notes on your partner. There is a break and the partners get together and discuss the observer's notes and thoughts, to help in the next round. Maybe it wouldn't work for elementary school, but seems effective in middle/high schools.
     
  5. Mrs. K.

    Mrs. K. Enthusiast

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    Apr 13, 2014

    I do a hybrid where I start with 8 students in the circle, let them discuss for several minutes, then have 4 students "tag in," so I replace half of the group at a time. This keeps some continuity in the discussion. I also keep a ninth chair in the circle so that anyone in the outer circle can join the inner circle temporarily. I've got 35 students in my classes, and this is the best way I've found to assure that everyone participates.
     
  6. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    Apr 14, 2014

    I've done socratics for years and I'd say the easiest way to ruin them is to use any type of fishbowl method. It is easier to manage the discussion but largely because you lose many of the comments that would have been said had the person thinking of them already been actively in the circle.
     

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