Three of these groups are assigned to represent specific points of view.
Members of the fourth group are designated as “provocateurs,” tasked with making sure the discussion keeps going and stays challenging.
This overview of Socratic Seminar from the website provides a list of appropriate questions, plus more information about how to prepare for a seminar.
Variations: When high school English teacher Sarah Brown Wessling introduced this strategy in the featured video (click Pinwheel Discussion above), she used it as a device for talking about literature, where each group represented a different author, plus one provocateur group.For larger classes, teachers may need to set up seminars in more of a fishbowl-like arrangement, dividing students into one inner circle that will participate in the discussion, and one outer circle that silently observes, takes notes, and may eventually trade places with those in the inner circle, sometimes all at once, and sometimes by “tapping in” as the urge strikes them.Basic Structure: Give students a broad question or problem that is likely to result in lots of different ideas, such as “What were the impacts of the Great Depresssion?On seminar day, students sit in a circle and an introductory, open-ended question is posed by the teacher or student discussion leader.From there, students continue the conversation, prompting one another to support their claims with textual evidence.Teachers may also opt to offer a continuum of choices, ranging from “Strongly Agree” on one side of the room, all the way to “Strongly Disagree” on the other, and have students place themselves along that continuum based on the strength of their convictions.Basic Structure: Students are divided into 4 groups.One person from each group (the “speaker”) sits in a desk facing speakers from the other groups, so they form a square in the center of the room.Behind each speaker, the remaining group members are seated: two right behind the speaker, then three behind them, and so on, forming a kind of triangle. The four speakers introduce and discuss questions they prepared ahead of time (this preparation is done with their groups).Small groups of students travel from station to station together, performing some kind of task or responding to a prompt, either of which will result in a conversation.Variations: Some Gallery Walks stay true to the term , where groups of students create informative posters, then act as tour guides or docents, giving other students a short presentation about their poster and conducting a Q&A about it.