The Future of Education

Edition 8

Accepted Abstracts

Socratic Seminars as a Tool in Teacher Education Classrooms: Preparing Teachers to Engage their Future Multilingual Learners in Classroom Discussion

Tina Keller, Messiah College (United States)


Reading complex texts, listening to conflicting ideas, engaging in reflective discussion, and forming thoughts through writing are key components in developing both language and critical thinking. Socratic Seminars can be used as a tool to harness classroom processes that incorporate reading, writing, listening, and speaking in a holistic fashion. Students are assigned a text and writing prompt prior to the discussion, and then classroom discussions are student facilitated with open-ended questions which culminates in reflective writing. Socratic Seminars are integrated multiple times over the course of a semester. In addition to investigating course texts, this process also embeds metacognitive elements which encourages reflection on socio-cultural aspects of discussions.


This presentation will highlight the ways that one teacher educator has integrated Socratic Seminars into two courses designed to prepare preservice teachers to meet the needs of English Learners in American schools. The hope is that as preservice teachers participate in Socratic Seminars in their college classroom it will both provide a deeper connection to course material as well as act as a model that can be used in their future classrooms with English Learners. The strengths and challenges of implementing this tool will be discussed. Examples of syllabi, course integration, student work as well as online resources will be provided.


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