Socratic Seminars:

Creating Authentic Student Discussions

A Workshop by:

John Zola

Target Audience

Elementary, middle and high school teachers. 


9.00 am - 4.00 pm

February 15 - 16, 2019

Amora Hotel

Chiang Mai, Thailand

Workshop Fee

Baht 20,260 per participant

Register by

November 16, 2018


General Workshop Information

A document containing information for applicants: accommodation, invoice status, workshop timings etc. 


Please make accommodation and travel booking after the receipt of invoice.


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What are Socratic seminars?

Socratic seminars are teacher-led classroom discussions that promote higher level thinking, more careful reading of texts, and increased skills of classroom and civil discussion. 

Where do they work best?

They are appropriate for students at any age and are most effective in TOK, literature, social studies, history, and other “humanities” courses. They have also proven to be a valuable teaching approach in math and science classes, but are more difficult to implement in these settings.  

Workshop overview and requirement

The two day workshop is a “basic” seminar training so that participants can return to their own communities and begin to conduct seminars in their own classrooms. Participants MUST have strong English language skills because they read and discuss a variety of challenging English language texts during the workshop.

Participants will learn through...

The workshop is highly participatory. Participants will engage in seminars and will have opportunities to lead and participate in “micro-seminars.” Small and large group instructional strategies will be used.

Topics Covered

  • The differences between Socratic seminars and other classroom discussion methods

  • How to engage in Socratic questioning

  • The various specifics related to implementing Socratic seminars in different classrooms

  • How to identify appropriate seminar texts

  • Classroom management strategies when conducting Socratic seminars

  • How to get started with Socratic seminars

After the completion of this workshop particpants will be able to...

  • Conduct effective and authentic Socratic seminar discussions in participant classrooms

  • Identify texts for Socratic seminars that align with curriculum expectations and learning goals

  • Work with students to build a “culture” of Socratic seminars in the classroom such that both teacher and student skills improve and become more sophisticated over time.

  • Improve skills related to conducting any type of classroom discussion and to more significantly value student “voice” in the classroom.

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Workshop Leader

John Zola spent over three decades as a high school and middle school social studies teacher, most recently at New Vista High School, a “break the mold” experimental public high school in Boulder, Colorado where he was part of the core design team.  


Throughout his career, John developed interactive teaching materials and conducted professional development workshops in active learning strategies and Socratic seminars. His workshops help teachers make the voice and work of students central in the classroom.  Many of these workshops were presented in countries of the former Soviet Union where they helped to promote the skills and dispositions needed in the new democracies.


John currently conducts professional development workshops on civic education, Socratic seminars, and student-centered teaching strategies in a variety of locations around the United States, Central Europe, and Asia. More information can be found at

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