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Explore the Socratic Seminar


What is a Socratic Seminar?
Develop an understanding of the purpose and structure of a Socratic Seminar. 

Time To Complete 

1 Day

Common Core Standards 

  • CCRA.R.1
  • CCRA.R.2
  • CCRA.W.1

I Can Statements 

  • I will know my exploration of text annotation is of high quality when:
    • I can identify the elements that define the Socratic Seminar.

Suggestions for Assessing Student Readiness to Move Forward:

  • Confer with students to check their understanding of the elements that define text annotation
  • Provide students an anchor video of a Socratic Seminar and ask them to identify the elements of the seminar that they observe.
Possible Activities 
  1. Lead students in a discussion of the differences among a Socratic Seminar, a discussion, and a debate. Show students a video of each.  Ask students to record their observations of key differences using a Venn diagram, bubble map, or other graphic organizer.  Emphasize that the purpose of a Socratic Seminar is inquiry, rather than merely presenting information or defending a claim or position.  Encourage students to think about the pros and cons to each form of discourse. 

  2. Explore different formats of a Socratic Seminar using video excerpts from the resource list below.  Have students brainstorm a list of the qualities/features of a Socratic Seminar and develop the list into a classroom anchor chart. 

Downloadable Resources 
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