Question Detail

Ideas for using Socratic Seminar Method in the Spanish language classroom?

Jan 12, 2016 1:48pm

My school is implementing the Socratic Seminar Method, and I am a Spanish teacher. I am finding it difficult to find a topic or method that would be effective in utilizing this method. Does anyone have any recommendations or has anyone done this before? What worked or didn't work? ¡Gracias!

  • Foreign Language
  • 9-12
  • Class Culture / Engagement / Planning
  • Student Collaboration / Teacher Collaboration


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    • Feb 4, 2016 7:36pm

      ¡Bravo! for pursuing the Socratic Seminar method in your class. Like you, I teach Spanish 9-12. Using the approach seems daunting to me too, yet, if the goal is for students to: a) ask and respond to open-ended questions; b) explore and understand the ideas, issues, and values of a text; and c) verbally examine their meaning and relevance to them and their lives now and in the future, then I think it's worth trying and can be enjoyable learning and growth for students and us teachers. (It will take practice and guidelines to become enjoyable so we'll need to be patient and passionate with our commitment to it!)

      I'm thinking about starting with a high-interest text (from students' perspective) like excerpts from Sandra Cisneros' The House on Mango Street. I'll explore students' prior knowledge of/experience with Socratic seminars and show them a great example of the method in action (probably from The Teaching Channel). Then I would use open-ended questions to discuss what they observed and what made the seminar work.

      The biggest challenge I anticipate is the upfront planning by me to position the seminar and the students' involvement for success. I definitely need to do some things differently to boost the level of interest of my lessons and equip my students for the 21st-century expectations that they face.
      ¡Buena suerte!

      • Mar 10, 2017 9:08am

        I tried "Philosophical Chairs" today during class, and it worked really well. I wrote a statement of opinion about the text (El Nuevo Houdini) on the board, and students had to pick sides on whether they agreed or disagreed. They then gave their opinion. Each student has to acknowledge what the other student said, "so and so said this. I believe this"'. We had already learned "'___ dijo que ___"" and ""yo pienso que"'... They loved it.