A Beginner’s Guide to the Socratic Seminar

By Jerry Chris, Ed.D.

Order Code: 4540

The Socratic seminar provides an opportunity for students of all ability levels to have equal voice in the free-flowing interchange of ideas. It is also a means to long-term memorization of the material the students are studying. This highly practical book explains in simple terms how the Socratic seminar works and how to manage one.


Ideally, the dialogue that happens in a Socratic seminar provides an equal opportunity for all: average-ability students, at-risk adolescents, English language learners, gifted prodigies—all have equal voice in the seminar, which is a free-flowing interchange in which everyone’s contribution has value. It is also, by active involvement toward understanding, the means to long-term memorization of what has been learned. This enthusiastic and highly practical book, primarily for teachers and homeschool co-op instructors, explains in simple terms how the Socratic seminar works and how to manage one.

Chapters include explanations on the difference between dialogue and debate, the rules of the Socratic seminar, the basics of getting started, how to adapt to different-sized classes, seating arrangements, the art of asking questions, evaluation sheets, follow-up writing, and prospective topics. The book works for teachers of all grade levels of children.

The author writes:

“After 37 years in the trenches, teaching the most gifted and the most reluctant learners, I promise you that the Socratic seminar works. I guarantee that it will bring you personal satisfaction and put smiles on the faces of your students. They will soon be begging for seminar time. The Socratic seminar represents the future of education.”


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