Implementing Socratic Seminars in the Classroom

By John Zola


Workshop Overview

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.  After the completion of this two day workshop, participants can  begin to conduct seminars in their own classrooms. 


Socratic seminar training workshops are, by their very nature, highly participatory and interactive. Each day begins with a seminar in which all participate.  The texts for  these adult seminars are drawn from literature, art, history,mathematics, science or other disciplines.  By participating in actual seminars, participants are able to experience what their students might experience and learn the process by doing. 


The other hallmark of seminar trainings is the repetition of  micro-seminars in the afternoons. These are seminars on smaller texts that are conducted by the participants in small groups. Conducted in a “jigsaw” manner, each person leads a seminar after having time to prepare to do so with fellow participants. The “hands and minds on” aspect of this is extremely powerful as participants do the actual work of preparing for and leading seminars.


The remaining elements of a seminar training make participant and leading behaviors explicit, identify the elements of good seminar texts, explore issues related to assessment of seminars, and support the best ways to implement seminars in the participants’ home setting.


Suitable For....

Socratic Seminars can be applied to students of Grades 1-12 in general and most any content area, although Seminars 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. Participants MUST be sufficiently fluent in English to discuss longer and somewhat complex texts.



By the end of this workshop participants will be able to…


  • Conduct effective and authentic Socratic seminar discussions in classrooms


  • Conduct micro-Socratic seminars as a way of learning leading skills


  • Describe the specific elements of a Socratic seminar and how each contributes to the overall learning goals of seminars


  • List aspects of effective participation and leadership in Socratic seminars


  • Engage in the process of Socratic questioning and compare it with other forms of classroom questioning


  • Discuss issues related to the assessment of Socratic seminars


  • Identify characteristics of high quality texts for use in 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


































Workshop Agenda - Day 1

Workshop Agenda - Day 2













Refer to the section titled 'Suitable For' 



November 6 - 7, 2015



8.30 am -3.30 pm



Chiang Mai, Thailand

Exact venue to be confirmed




(for 2 or more participants registering together)

Baht 17,500/USD 500 per participant 



Baht 18,500/USD 528 per participant



September 20, 2015




Workshop Reservation Form



Workshop Coordinator

Mr. Navin Pawa 




Phone (Thailand)

081 701 6843;

081 846 5770 
(replace '0' with '66' for international calls)