Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Convention Season: In Which I Finally Feel Comfortable with the Socratic Method (or One More Time Through A Bargain for Frances)

The Socratic Method for Dummies - Become a Great Teacher - Adam Andrews

Adam Andrews again! Of course! I've actually heard this seminar (or nearly this same seminar) before, but as my friend and I are planning to teach our literature class this year using the Socratic Method, I figured this would be a great review and motivator. Since I've heard it before, my notes are not complete. However, here is my blog post of the first time I heard this seminar.

The Socratic method is based on the great Greek philosopher and teacher, Socrates, who said it is better to know nothing so as to ask a question to be informed.

To use the Socratic method, you need to be comfortable with your place as a co-learner with your students. This is much different from the workbook approach usually employed to teach literature with vocabulary words, comprehension questions, and optional enrichment activities.

You don't have to be an expert to use the Socratic method. Start from your own place of ignorance.

Five Conflicts
Five Thematic Elements
Five Elements of Plot

To decide the conflict, ask: What point in the story has the most tension?

The theme is the author's main point or reason for writing.

Adam used A Bargain for Frances by Russell Hoban to illustrate the Socratic method. A recent post on the CenterForLit blog covers this far better than I could, so I will just link you:
Picture Books for High Schoolers?

One thing I do want to know is that a good question to ask is: At what moment do we know it's going to be resolved? This is the tipping point of the story.

Whenever you have these discussions, you can ask students to defend their answers.

Teach vocabulary for discussing literature as you go through it, in the process, rather than separately.

What if you don't like the theme the author wrote about or if you disagree with it?
This is a great opportunity for clarifying worldview!

I am SO looking forward to teaching literature this way in the coming year to my co-op students with Ready Readers Volume 1 (which I had signed by Adam and Missy Andrews).

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