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The Teacher's Guide to Leading Student-Centered Discussions
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The Teacher's Guide to Leading Student-Centered Discussions
Talking About Texts in the Classroom



© 2006 | 136 pages | Corwin
Facilitate dynamic classroom discussions that motivate students and deepen their understanding!

"There are two reasons why this book is so important now. The first is the vitality of the subject: true classroom dialogue may be our only hope for helping students become thoughtful citizens. The second is that the authors practice what they preach. They assume from the first page that teachers are thoughtful professionals capable of making the subtle decisions discussed. The result is a book that should lie open on the desk of any teacher who is truly interested in teaching students to think."
-Terry Roberts, Director National Paideia Center

"I loved the case stories of classroom discussions that illustrated the authors' points."
-Kimberly C. Smith, Advanced Math Teacher/Math Department Chair
Welborn Middle School, High Point, NC

"Practical and beneficial to teaching and learning in today's world."
-Sylvia Jackson, Principal
Adolfo Camarillo High School, CA

Engage and enlighten students by skillfully guiding them through thought-provoking classroom discussions using these straightforward strategies. Aligned with the principles of Paideia and Socratic seminars, and packed with real-life examples, this teacher-friendly resource highlights the fundamentals of planning for text-based discourse, the four key factors that shape the teacher's decision-making during discussions, and tips for problem-solving and fine-tuning facilitation skills.  

 
Preface
 
Acknowledgments
 
About the Authors
 
Part I: Getting Started: The "Science" of Leading Discussions
 
1. The Fundamentals of Facilitating
Why Have Student Centered Discussions?  
Essential Ingredients of a Student-Centered, Text-based Discussion, aka “Seminar”  
The Architecture of a Discussion  
Frequently Asked Questions and Tips for Beginners  
Tips for Beginners  
References  
 
PART II: Becoming a Skillful Facilitator: The “Art and Magic” of Leading Discussions
 
2. Safety
Recognizing Safety Issues  
Tone of the Discussion  
Atmosphere of Safety and Respect  
Creating a Culture of Inquiry  
The Danger of Sarcasm  
Feedback During Seminar  
A Climate of Respect  
 
3. Authentic Participation
Recognizing Authentic Participation Issues  
Attention-Seeking Participation  
Text-Focused Participation  
Reflective Activity  
Assessing Pauses in Conversation  
Facilitator is Not the Focus  
 
4. Challenge
Recognizing Challenge Issues  
Assessing Understanding  
Off-Topic Conversation  
Repetitive Ideas and Statements  
Idea-Hopping  
Challenging Ideas  
 
5. Ownership
Recognizing Ownership Issues  
Avoiding Anarchy  
Facilitator Releasing Control  
Student-Driven Discussions  
 
6. The Seminar Decision-Making Model
Steps of the Decision-Making Process  
Identifying the Issue  
Identifying Possible Causes  
Match to Primary Fulcrum  
Identifying and Applying Possible Strategies  
Determine Effectiveness of Strategy and Next Steps  
 
PART III: Improving Student-Centered Discussions
 
7. Strategies for Ongoing Improvement Across All the Fulcrums
Reflection  
Seminar Mapping  
Teaching the Fulcrums to Students  
Fishbowl  
Seminar Folders  
Videotape  
 
Assessment
Peer Planning  
Peer Coaching  
Case Study  
 
8. Strategies for Improving Specific Fulcrums
Safety  
Seminar Ground Rules  
Assigned Seats  
Yellow Card, Red Card  
Ejection  
Time-out  
Write Before You Talk  
Role Play  
Stop and Try Again  
Building Safety Outside Seminar  
Role Play  
Have Seminars More Frequently  
Ask The Students  
Authentic Participation  
Heads-Up Question  
Pair-Share  
Round Robin  
Inviting Quiet People to Speak  
Reflective Writing  
Follow-up Writing  
Positive Reinforcement  
Connections  
Question Again  
Pair Share/Write During Seminar  
Silence  
Map Connections  
Challenge  
Where in the Text?  
Ask Follow-Up Questions  
Paraphrase and Probe  
Pair-Share/Write during Seminar  
Pre-Seminar  
Choosing a Different Type of Text  
Good Questions  
Ownership  
Relinquish the Reins  
Self-assessment  
Wait Time  
Favorite Text Phenomenon  
Eye Contact  
Don’t Be Afraid—Drive  
Turn-Taking  
Look Around the Circle  
 
Resource A – Training Guides
Using the Fulcrums for Professional Development  
Working with Groups of Teachers  
New Facilitators  
Experienced Facilitators  
Working on Your Own/Working with Individual Teachers  
Individual Teachers  
 
Resource B – Reproducibles
 
Index

"Practical and beneficial to teaching and learning in today's world ...the book provides good strategies for helping teachers facilitate meaningful academic discussions in the classroom setting."

Sylvia Jackson
Principal, Adolfo Camarillo High School, Camarillo, CA

"There is a great deal of relevant, practical information in this book for teachers to use to improve the quality of seminars." 

Cynthia Passmore
Assistant Professor, Science Education, School of Education, University of California, Davis

"A teacher can take this text and learn to facilitate a seminar. The examples are very useful and after some practice, I believe I too could manage a seminar discussion successfully."

Eric Kincaid
Science Teacher, Morgantown High School, Morgantown, WV

"I loved the case stories/examples of classroom seminars/discussions that illustrated the author's points...I was able to relate to many of the problems that some of the teachers faced in their seminars...The book will make a distinct contribution to the field."

Kimberly C. Smith
Advanced Math Teacher/Math Department Chair, Welborn Middle School, High Point, NC

"There are two reasons why this book is so important now. The first is the vitality of the subject: true classroom dialogue may be our only hope for helping our students become civil as well as thoughtful citizens. The second is that the authors practice what they preach. They assume from the first page that teachers themselves are thoughtful professionals, capable of making the subtle decisions discussed in these pages. The result is a book that should lie open on the desk of any teacher who is truly interested in teaching students to think."

Terry Roberts, Director
National Paideia Center

"As a teacher and teacher educator, I have led hundreds of student-centered discussions and in reading this book I discovered new ideas and strategies that will help me improve the quality of my own classroom discussions. I believe there are strategies in this book for all teachers, novice to expert."

Jennifer R. Mangrum, Coordinator of Elementary Education Initiative
North Carolina State University

"A strong student-centered discussion is a teacher's dream - a classroom of students energized by intellectual exchange. That's why Hale and City's book is such a gift. This book is packed with strategies for facilitating great discussions. Whether you are new to student-centered discussions or an old-pro, their book will help you think strategically about how to take your classroom to the next level."

Eric Westendorf, Founding Director
The National Teaching Academy

"I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to teach students to improve their listening, critical thinking, social, or college success skills."

Jennifer Lerner, Northern Virginia Community College
NACADA Journal, Spring 2007
Key features
  • Covers theory and practice for developing and sustaining substantive text-based classroom discussions and Socratic Seminars.
  • Appropriate for secondary schools, gifted and talented programs, block classrooms, and all content areas
  • Includes case examples, classroom strategies, classroom tools, assessment tools, and a four-stage decision-making framework for the instructor.

Sample Materials & Chapters

Preface

Chapter 1


Preview this book

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ISBN: 9781412906357
$27.95

For instructors