Socratic Seminar

I use Socratic seminar in every course I currently teach. We make particular use of it in my Foundations of Education course, where most of the semester is spent reading texts on various aspects of education (philosophy, history, politics), and discussing these in seminar. (I mostly employ the "Socratic Circles" approach.) In my experience, students get great benefit from seminar, as it helps them improve their reading, critical thinking, argumentation, listening, and social skills.

Attached is a sample syllabus from a Foundations of American Education course I teach where we use seminar. Each class period, students come in having done the reading. I divide the class (at random) into two groups: one to be the "inner circle" and one to be the "outer circle." The inner circle discusses the text first (with the outer circle on a concentric circle outside of them.) I might start out with my own question, but often will call on a student to get us started with a question. Once the inner circle's discussion is over, the outer circle 'debriefs' and evaluates, telling us what was good about the discussion, and if there was anything we need to improve upon. Switch. Repeat. This document explains the process further.

Here is a video from a series I recorded on Socratic seminar. This one gives you an idea of how I set up Socratic seminars.

This one (part 5 of 7) gives you an idea of how I facilitate seminar.