Tracey Catalfamo: Socratic Discussion


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Have you found yourself struggling to engage your students in class discussion after assigning a reading? Are your students disengaging from doing homework and participating in English class halfway through the year and have become bored with assignments? Does your classroom need a zestful spark for a debate in order to return interest in a particular literary work?

This course is designed to help current and future teachers overcome these problems in the ELA classroom. Using Socratic Discussions as a tool to create class discussion

Description of Units

Unit One: Socrates and the Socratic Discussion

This unit will introduce users to a brief history of Socrates and his philosophic methods of discussion. Users will understand the basic components and principles of the Socratic Discussion.

Unit Two: Socratic Discussions in Theory

Users will learn about the importance and use of Socratic Discussions in the ELA classroom. Users will be given examples of “good” and “bad” discussion questions with explanations. This unit details the advantages and disadvantages of using this tool and outlines an evaluation for facilitators to use for their own lessons.

Unit Three: Socratic Discussions in Practice

Users will participate in a Socratic Discussion and reflect upon the components in order to help understand use of this tool in the ELA classroom.

Unit Four: Socratic Discussions in Action

Users will gain experience creating and designing their own lesson plan using a Socratic Discussion. They will be exposed to various examples of Socratic Discussion topics.


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Israel, Elfie. “Examining Multiple Perspectives in Literature.” In Inquiry and the Literary Text: Constructing Discussions n the English Classroom. James Holden and John S. Schmit, eds. Urbana, IL: NCTE, 2002. 89. Print.

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Paul, Richard, and Linda Elder. The Thinker's Guide to the Art of Socratic Questioning. Dillon Beach, CA: Foundation for Critical Thinking, 2006. Print.

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"Socratic Seminars What Is a Socratic Seminar?" YouTube. YouTube, 11 July 2013. Web. 2 Dec. 2013. <>.

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