NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ1045373
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Nov
Pages: 5
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0013-1784
What Is the Value of Life? … and Other Socratic Questions
Cuny, Casey
Educational Leadership, v72 n3 p54-58 Nov 2014
Casey Cuny was frustrated with the lack of depth in his high school English students' writing. He'd heard about Socratic seminars but was reluctant to try them until he saw them in action. He decided to conduct Socratic seminars with his students centered on the question, What is the value of life? In past years, student papers on this question had been shallow, but Cuny was impressed at students' engagement in the discussion and the depth of thinking demonstrated in the papers they wrote afterward. Cuny offers four steps for teachers thinking about implementing Socratic seminars centered on a big essential question: Create a list of prior questions that students should address before tackling the essential question. These questions become the blueprint for the discussion. Explain the basic guidelines. In Cuny's classes, students are required to answer every question in their notes, raise their hands if they want to add a comment, use evidence to support their claims, and take notes on other students' comments. Guide the discussion. Although students do most of the talking in Socratic seminar, the teacher needs to sit at the students' level, take notes, ask questions, and move the discussion along as needed. Let go. The teacher may know the most about the content, but students have their own unique and valuable perspectives to share.
ASCD. 1703 North Beauregard Street, Alexandria, VA 22311-1714. Tel: 800-933-2723; Tel: 703-578-9600; Fax: 703-575-5400; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: High Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A