Socratic Circle Learning through discussion

What is a Socratic Circle?

  • Provides an opportunity for everyone to participate through speaking and listening
  • Opportunity for greater understanding of material
  • Allows us to communicate information and ideas in a style that is often appropriate to the audience and purpose

Some Tips:

  1. Talk to each other, not just to the discussion leader or teacher.
  2. Refer to evidence from the text to support your ideas.
  3. Ask questions if you do not understand what someone has said, or you can paraphrase what another student has said for clarification. For example: “I think you said this, is that right?”
  4. You do not need to raise your hands to speak, but please pay attention to your “airtime” – how much you have spoken in relation to other students.
  5. Don’t interrupt.
  6. Don’t put down the ideas of another student. Without judging the student who you may disagree with, state your alternate interpretation or ask a follow-up question to help probe or clarify an idea.

Common statements or questions used during a Socratic seminar include:

  • What does this word or phrase mean?Can you say that in another way?
  • Is this what you mean to say…
  • What do you think the author is trying to say?
  • Who was the audience for this text? How does that shape our interpretation of these words?
  • Who was the author of this text? What do we know about him/her? How does that shape our understanding of these words?

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