ERIC Number: ED403339
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1996
Reference Count: N/A
Improving Critical Thinking through Socratic Seminars. Spotlight on Student Success. No. 110.
Polite, Vernon C.; Adams, Arlin Henry
This research digest reports on the efforts of Socratic Seminar methodology at Lookout Valley Middle School, a small middle school in Chattanooga (Tennessee). An integral part of the Paideia Schools Movement among public schools in Chattanooga, Socratic Seminars are well-planned opportunities for middle school students to engage in intelligent discussions to scrutinize ideals, values, social issues, and principles. Socratic Seminars are fashioned after the instruction-through-questioning methodology of Socrates. They focus on a wide range of topics and are designed to enhance critical thinking. The Seminars were studied through interviews with eight teachers, observations at planning meetings and Seminars, and analysis of documents. Student data came from 34 participants. Most teachers were satisfied with the Seminars, although three felt that the ethnic pieces discussed were powerful but not relevant to the students at the school, which is 85% white. Teachers also thought that further training would be helpful. Student interviews indicated that the Seminars were effective in enhancing higher order thinking and conflict resolution. Students reacted best to topics that they found personally relevant. Overall findings suggest that the Socratic Seminars increased students' cognitive and social functioning. (SLD)
Descriptors: Black Students, Conflict Resolution, Critical Thinking, Ethnicity, Intermediate Grades, Junior High Schools, Middle School Students, Middle Schools, Public Schools, Questioning Techniques, Racial Differences, Skill Development, Social Development, Teacher Attitudes, White Students
Mid-Atlantic Laboratory for Student Success, 9th Floor, Ritter Hall Annex, 13th Street and Cecil B. Moore Ave., Philadelphia, PA, 19122; phone: 800-892-5550; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.temple.edu/departments/LSS
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Mid-Atlantic Lab. for Student Success, Philadelphia, PA.