Socratic seminars engage learners in structured discussion, with each learner assigned a specific task. Students are divided into two groups. One group engages in a structured discussion about a topic assigned by the teacher. The other group observes the discussion, then offers constructive feedback that guides and informs a second round of discussion.
Socratic seminars engage learners in formal discussion and require active listening. Engagement in Socratic seminars requires learners to think critically about the question posed and about the quality of discussion. Students in the second group gain experience offering constructive feedback to their peers.
Socratic seminars can be facilitated using online video conferencing tools while students are learning from home. The use of video enables structured discussion (with associated eye contact and turn-taking) while students are physically separated. It also supports a strong social presence, which is important for successful distance learning. Learners may develop new digital skills as they engage in respectful discussion in an online environment.