Participating in a Socratic Circle
Image: Singing Bowl Media
Source: Museum Victoria
An outline of Socratic Circles
Critical reading: A passage of text is chosen. Copies of the text with space/columns for annotations are distributed to students who read the passage several times taking notes.
Inner circle discussion 1: The first circle, randomly chosen, discusses the text for 10 minutes – asking and answering questions of each other. Teacher/leader begins with a ‘conversation-starter’.
Outer circle feedback 1: Each member of the outer circle contributes some concise feedback to the group including both positive comments and constructive criticism.
Inner circle discussion 2: The groups swap roles – a different conversation-starter question is offered by the teacher/leader.
Outer circle feedback 2: Feedback – both positive, affirming comments and comments that suggest areas for improvement, that is, constructive criticism.
Evaluation: Students evaluate their own contribution to the discussion.
For detailed information about how to facilitate Socratic Circles, consult:
Copeland, M. (2005), Socratic Circles: Fostering Critical and Creative Thinking in Middle and High Schoool, Portland, Maine: Stenhouse Publishers.
This publication contains a Socratic Circle feedback form and an assessment rubric.