Today I saw proof of the power of Socratic Seminars on student confidence, thinking and questioning. I don't need convincing that Socratic Seminars are a powerful learning tool that will improve students skills across the board and far into their future-- I preach it all the time. Still, I enjoy seeing the impact. Today with my Seniors I did their first Socratic Seminar pre-assessment (they will have one as part of their final in May), I need to see where they are at. There were a few students in each class that had experience with Socratic Seminar, either in my US History class last year or in one of their English classes. The difference in confidence, ability to articulate reasoning , listen and ask questions was like black and white. I am excited for the progress that all of my students will be making in these categories as we improve our speaking, listening and questioning skills this semester.
I did something new today and I had the students self assess in a writing afterwards. SO beyond peer assessing, I had them write about what they did well, could improve upon and any observations, feelings and thought processes they had during the seminar. Overall, the students listened fairly well (I love watching them listen to each other), next steps using paraphrasing to share what they were listening to from each other. In their reflections many students wrote about really wanting to speak, but being afraid. They also wrote that they want to speak next time and go for it. Others wrote they wanted to use more evidence and wished they had taken better notes. They were clear with where they want to go, and clear that they felt this work was purposeful and important. They want to be better at it!! Yay!!!
A-ha: I have done enough Socratic Seminars now, that they don't feel stressful anymore!
Reminder: Don't forget to charge my battery when I am video recording classes all day...