Socratic seminars and other group discussion protocols are important strategies used within Inquiry Journeys, inquirED ’s elementary social studies curriculum. These strategies help students practice the lifelong socio-emotional skill of active listening.
This skill may be new to many students. Most likely, instead of listening to their peers in conversations and discussion, they are waiting for their turn to talk. To set the stage for active listening in class discussions, teachers can:
Role-play a discussion with a student, modeling active listening.
Watch a video clip of people talking and mute the volume. Have students identify non-verbal listening cues.
Prepare a collection of question stems or sentence starters to use if students are struggling. For example. “I heard you say this, and I agree or disagree because…”
Share an infographic, like the one above, to remind students of the principles of active listening.
Give students a chance to find their way during discussions, but don't be afraid to stop the activity if students are not listening to each other. Stopping to talk about why it isn't going well can be a powerful learning experience. To find out more about how inquirED promotes active listening in elementary social studies visit: www.inquired.org/curriculum
Interested in strategies to help create lively class discussions? Download a helpful Discussion Strategies Guide.