Increase student understanding and engagement by applying Socratic questioning to the group discussion of literary texts.

by Jadun McCarthy

Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12


The Socratic method allows for students to have discussions about a text that includes their previous knowledge and their understanding of other literary contexts.

My students lead the discussion. They might be looking at meaning, context, or how it relates to them as individuals. The teacher’s role varies and is dependent on the familiarity the students have with the Socratic seminar.

The Socratic seminar format allows students to:

-Learn from each other;

-Craft the discussion around issues that are important to them; and

-Gain the sort of independence you get when you unlock the text and develop a personal relationship to it.

A good way to draw out students who are reluctant to participate is to connect the questioning to issues that are meaningful to them. It gives them an entry point and a way to take part and build on that participation.

The socratic seminar is usable in many academic contexts beside the discussion of texts. All subject disciplines demand skilled, deeper, and conversation-based examination in an open, lightly facilitated manner.

About Jadun McCarthy

As a product of the public education system, Jadun McCarthy is a representation of the truly transformative power of education. After graduating fr...

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