Socratic Circles: Fostering Critical and Creative Thinking in Middle and High School / Edition 1

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The benefits and importance of Socratic seminars are widely recognized, but little has been written on how to make them happen successfully in the classroom. By offering real-world examples and straightforward answers to frequent questions, Matt Copeland has created a coaching guide for both the teacher new to Socratic seminars and the experienced teacher seeking to optimize the benefits of this powerful strategy. Socratic Circles also shows teachers who are familiar with literature circles the many ways in which these two practices complement and extend each other.

Effectively implemented, Socratic seminars enhance reading comprehension, listening and speaking skills, and build better classroom community and conflict resolution skills. By giving students ownership over the classroom discussion around texts, they become more independent and motivated learners. Ultimately, because there is a direct relationship between the level of participation and the richness of the experience, Socratic seminars teach students to take responsibility for the quality of their own learning.

Filled with examples to help readers visualize the application of these concepts in practice, Socratic Circles includes transcripts of student dialogue and work samples of preparation and follow-up activities. The helpful appendices offer ready-to-copy handouts and examples, and suggested selections of text that connect to major literary works.

As our classrooms and our schools grow increasingly focused on meeting high standards and differentiating instruction for a wide variety of student needs and learning styles, Socratic seminars offer an essential classroom tool for meeting these goals. Socratic Circles is a complete and practical guide to Socratic seminars for the busy classroom teacher.

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Editorial Reviews

Teachers looking for ways to increase the critical thinking of their students will find much to assist them in this book. Copeland describes in detail the process that brought him to use Socratic Circles in his English classroom. Before the implementation, students found it difficult to discuss literary works with any depth. So Copeland sought something to assist him and his students in tackling this problem. Socratic Circles enriched their literary experience. Copeland walks readers through the rationale for using this technique, citing the research that underpins the concept of using Socratic Circles in the classroom. Snippets of sample circles serve to introduce each chapter and to further the understanding of the reader as Copeland takes them step-by-step through the process of establishing the circles. Although the technique is meant to surrender a large measure of the control over to students, Copeland is quick to point out that the teacher's role is still an essential one. Teacher preparation and (limited) participation is key to overall success. Copeland's writing is totally accessible, making the text useful for novice and experienced teacher alike. It crosses content areas as well, including pieces from social studies, science, and other fields. As part of the professional collection in a middle school and high school library, it should prove to be an important resource. It might also be valuable for librarians to use in their book club discussions. 2005, Stenhouse, 163p.; Illus. Biblio. Appendix., pb. Ages adult professional.
—Teri S. Lesesne
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781571103949
  • Publisher: Stenhouse Publishers
  • Publication date: 1/1/2005
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 176
  • Sales rank: 225,670
  • Lexile: 1350L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 7.30 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Table of Contents

Ch. 1 The benefits of Socratic circles 5
Ch. 2 The nuts and bolts of Socratic circles 25
Ch. 3 Preparing for classroom dialogue 37
Ch. 4 Facilitating the inner circle 57
Ch. 5 Facilitating the outer circle 75
Ch. 6 Socratic circles in action 93
Ch. 7 Aligning Socratic circles with the curriculum 109
Ch. 8 Assessment and follow-up activities 123
App Socratic circle text suggestions 147
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 19, 2007

    A Resounding Success!

    This is truly an excellent, practical handbook for teaching in an unconventional way. I used the Socratic Circle method in my college-level class on Critical Reading and Thinking and it was astounding to watch students who had NEVER spoken a word the whole semester, to finally say something of note. 90% of the class mentioned that Socratic Circles were such a help to them and they wrote in their journals about how much they liked this new style of discussion. Thank you so much Matt for your wonderful book!!!

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    Posted April 30, 2011

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