Do you have any common rules or recommendations how students should engage in a Socratic discussion in history?
Thank you for the question! I am copying a page out of our book, The Socratic Discussion in History, which is a manual and DVD curriculum for teachers and students how to engage in the Socratic Discussion in history. Beyond this list of rules is the premise that truth does exist, and that all are called to search for the truth in history. Historical analysis is not merely just the individual perspective of the student or the teacher, it is a systematic academic exercise with the aim of finding the correct answer.
Rules for a Socratic Discussion in History
1. Each participant has tried their best in researching for the discussion. If no research work has been done, the student cannot participate.
2. The goal of each student is to search for the truth, not “win” the discussion.
3. When others talk, all students will be respectfully silent.
4. To signal the teacher that you want to talk, the student will raise his hand and wait for the teacher to call on him.
5. If a student wants to talk, the teacher will recognize him.
6. In making an assertion, the student will attempt to use historical evidence as support.
7. Unless noted otherwise, students may use notes during the discussion.
8. Students are encouraged to acknowledge good arguments of their peers.
9. The student will make every possible effort to participate in the discussion.
10. If something happens in the discussion that the student thinks should not have, it is up to the student to tell the teacher, either during the discussion or after class.
Teaching with the Take a Stand! series helps me get to know my children and students better and it helps them how to think critically, form historical judgement, and express themselves in speech and in writing.