WHAT IS A SOCRATIC SEMINAR? “The unexamined life is not worth living.” -Socrates • The Socratic method of teaching is based on Socrates' theory that it is more important to enable students to think for themselves than to merely fill their heads with "right" answers. • One way to keep the conversation going is to respond to questions with questions, instead of answers. This process encourages divergent thinking rather than convergent. • In short, the point is not to find the correct answer to a question but to generate as many potential responses as possible. CRITERIA FOR GRADED DISCUSSION • Class participation grade 30 points total • You will graded on your: • level of participation . • References to texts • Level of analysis HIGHER ORDER THINKING SKILLS OPEN-ENDED QUESTION: • An insightful question about the text that will require evidence from the text and group discussion to discover or explore the possible answer s to the question. • Many begin with the words “how,” “what,” or “why”? • Open-ended questions are usually not yes or not questions, or plot based questions. An exception might be a question that makes you analyze or evaluate whether or not a character, event, or written work meets a certain criteria. With these types of questions, you need to supplement your response with reasoning and evidence from the text. • For example: Does Beowulf represent the heroic ideal? (According to the code and values of comitatus) CRAFT AND STRUCTURE • Write a question dealing with HOW an author chose to compose a literary piece. • Example: Why is it important that the story is told through flashback? • OR How does Gardner’s characterization of Grendel affect or change your understanding of Beowulf? UNIVERSAL THEME/ CORE QUESTION: Write a question dealing with a theme(s) of the text that will encourage group discussion about the universality of the text. Example: After reading John Gardner's GRENDEL, can you identify its existential elements? What purpose do they serve for the novel as a whole? What commentary do they provide for themes expressed in Beowulf?