Socratic Seminar with Data: A Strategy to Support Student Discourse and Understanding

Published:2017, The American Biology Teacher
Vol. 79, No. 6, August 2017
Authors:Griswold J, Shaw L, Munn M

Analyzing and interpreting data, student-led discourse, Socratic seminar, type 2 diabetes, gene-environment interactions

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A Socratic seminar can be a powerful tool for increasing students’ ability to analyze and interpret data. Most commonly used for text-based discussion, we found that using Socratic seminar to engage students with data contributes to student understanding by allowing them to reason through and process complex information as a group. This approach also provides teachers with insights about student misconceptions and understanding of concepts by listening to the student-driven discussion. This article reports on Socratic seminar in the context of a high school type 2 diabetes curriculum that explores gene and environment interactions. A case study illustrates how Socratic seminar is applied in a classroom and how students engage with the process. General characteristics of a Socratic seminar are discussed at the end of the article.

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