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Socratic Circles
Matt Copeland
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Socratic Circles

3.96  ·  Rating Details ·  202 Ratings  ·  26 Reviews

The benefits and importance of Socratic seminars are widely recognized, but little has been written on how to make them happen successfully in the classroom. By offering real-world examples and straightforward answers to frequent questions, Matt Copeland has created a coaching guide for both the teacher new to Socratic seminars and the experienced teacher seeking to optimi

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Published July 27th 2009 by Stenhouse Publishers (first published January 1st 2005)
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Sep 01, 2013 Erin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: education
Once on a reflection form after a class discussion, one of my students wrote something to the effect of, "You know that these class discussions are never going to be what you want them to be". I took that to mean, "Your dream of having class discussions that are actually highly engaging, student centered and thought-provoking is just a fantasy." I felt sad that my student felt that way, and felt his frustration at participating in discussion that doesn't live up to its potential. Having rich and ...more
Mar 21, 2010 Molly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely one of the best teaching books I own. I had been doing Socratics for a while and was always disappointed that the format itself didn't automatically make students insightful. Copeland emphasizes far more thorough preparation and reflection than I had been doing in my classes. Before I even read this book, I was able to take the preparation and reflection forms he provides and use them for my first Socratic seminars of the school year, and they were by far the best I've ever had, inclu ...more
Aug 20, 2008 Matt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of my essential "bibles" of classroom instruction. I read it last year and it improved the discussions in my Honors classes significantly. Copeland presents many helpful tips on how to manage a Socratic Circle and how to develop opening questions for each circle. This is a must-read book for any English teacher.
Jul 07, 2008 Macy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A great technique for the classroom, however the author goes on and on, repeating concepts. I got it the first time.
May 23, 2017 Steve rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Implementing a large amount of this into my teaching. If you have compunction toward Adler's third column, here is a great resource.
Jun 07, 2014 Stephen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Copeland's insights here are helpful and have given me ideas for better class discussions. The idea behind Socratic circles--that students will be more invested in the learning process if they sense more ownership of it--is a valuable one to remember. Among the helpful ideas are to have students complete reading notes that interact with the assigned text before the discussion starts; their notes could serve as an "admission ticket" to the discussion (51). Also, changing the lighting in the class ...more
Feb 02, 2017 Franky rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: resource, teaching
This book offers insight into the ideas of using Socratic circles and seminars in the classroom, where students take a more active role in discussion and critical thought. The layout and structure of the book is easy to follow and perfect for helping to answer those lingering questions teachers may have about Socratic circles. For instance, the opening chapter sheds some light on simply understanding the basics of the Socratic seminar, how they came to be and why a teacher might want to try one ...more
Jul 02, 2014 Liz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: teaching
I found the ideas in this book exciting and useful. That is why I gave it four stars. As a teacher I want to create dialogue and ecourage critical thinking with my students. Socratic Circles feel like a good way to do that.

I found the writing in this book long-winded, as though the author was trying too hard to prove his point. It was also very centered on an English classroom, so there were many parts I skimmed because I don't teach English.
Jul 07, 2011 Kelley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2008-2011
Since I’m not taking master’s classes anymore—I decided to read a book about a new device I want to implement in my LA 10 classes: Socratic circles. This book was about how to do that and it provided a lot of examples, a lot of stories to back up the points and it surprised me that the writer was so young and yet could provide such definitive advice. I can’t wait to try this in my classroom this year!
Aug 21, 2010 Susan rated it really liked it
Shelves: education
This is something that I have never tried before. I've often had the sense when in classroom situations that some among us knew well how to move the conversation forward. I imagined that they may have had experience with Socratic Circles. After reading this book, I suspect that I was right. I want my students to experience this. I think it will help them no matter they do in life - there is a high probability that discussion will at some point be involved!
May 24, 2012 Shawn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: education
A useful text for developing Socratic dialogue in class rooms. Some of it is more relevant for (as the title indicates) middle and high school literature classes, but I found a lot here that can be adapted to my classes. Copeland's suggestions on pre- and post-discussion activities and assessment techniques also will be, I think(and hope), helpful. I also really liked the examples he provides of actual student dialogues.
Richard Payne
Jul 19, 2015 Richard Payne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Complete Process

Great book for beginner. You can skip 1st ch if you have made up your mind already to use the Socratic Method. I feel confident in process and using this for next years students after reading. Wish list: more on how to develop the questions that will achieve desired results.
I decided to read this book to see what I can learn from it about discussion in my English classes. I'm not finished with the book yet, but it's already given me a lot to think about in terms of the questions I ask my students and how to get them to have a dialogue with each other about the text we're reading. More to come when I finish.
Jul 11, 2012 Gayle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: teaching-books
This is a really nice companion piece to Pathways to the Common Core. Copland includes some very practical advice and also a few rubrics that will be helpful to those just starting to use this method and those who would like to improve how they use it. I agree, however, with the reviews that say parts of the text are repetitious. I was able to skim a lot and read it in a few hours.
Dec 31, 2012 Patricia rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
very repetitive with little substance given as to how the method can be applied to readings outside of the language arts curricula. I liked the forms at the end that can be used to evaluate the circles.
Aug 06, 2014 Katie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: curriculum
I've been using Socratic circles for years but always felt they could be better in my classroom. This book gave me some missing pieces (outer circle feedback) and some tips (shorter passages). Hopefully, these changes will create more fruitful discussion.
Jan 13, 2016 Eva rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 52-in-2016
I really enjoyed this book. Though I am no longer in a public school classroom, I am very intrigued by Socratic questions and seminars. I will be doing more research to learn how I can modify Socratic Circles to a homeschool setting.
May 19, 2014 Jill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: professional
Hopefully, I will use this successfully. It has the potential of being a great and well used professional texts with strategies that can be implemented in any class with any text and reap discussion.
Oct 29, 2009 Michael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love using Socratic Circle instruction in the classroom. A great technique to bring students in to the discussion.
Apr 13, 2008 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am a convert to the Socratic method of teaching. This book is a practical manual for integrating the circles into a classroom.
Jun 20, 2012 Anne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Teachers should read this and try this strategy in the classroom. I'm so eager to get started!
Jul 22, 2013 Gini rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An excellent introduction to the art and science of the Socratic circle.
Ryan Thompson
May 21, 2014 Ryan Thompson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent insight into how I can better incorporate meaningful socratic seminars into my classroom this next school year.
Jun 21, 2009 Christi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: professional
Not exactly a book to review -- I think the pedagogy is sound and will implement it though.
Kay Haas
Kay Haas rated it really liked it
Nov 25, 2011
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Jan 17, 2016
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