Implementation of ‘The Migration Socratic Seminar’ (SOI-HR-22)

The learning scenario Migration Socratic Seminar was implemented among 17-year-old students during the English lesson.

About the implementation

The Migration Socratic Seminar was a huge success both from the teacher’s and students’ point of view. The Socratic Seminar method was used for the first time and my biggest concern as a teacher was whether my students will prepare for the seminar properly. When we had a feedback session some students complained that they would have preferred more preparation time (because they had to study the whole Migration collection and prepare questions based on it and other sources), others said that only one day they had for preparation was the reason why they prepared well. So, it is up to the teacher to decide how much time to give to the students for preparation.

What I liked most about the implemented scenario was the fact that I had 18 students actively talking and listening to each other for 45 minutes (which for a language teacher is the main goal – to have them talking in a foreign language), leading a discussion without a single teacher’s interruption, referring to sources, asking deep questions, learning from each other, not the teacher.

They were very nervous at the beginning of the discussion, but once they started, everything ran smoothly, they continued talking even after the bell rang. In the end they were very proud of themselves and they told me: ‘Teacher, we talked like grown-ups’, and they asked whether they could do it again on another topic.

Enhancing students’ 21st century skills

The biggest risk of implementation of such a method is students not preparing for the seminar so each teacher has to find a suitable motivation for their students (interesting topic, giving grades after the seminar…). Another good thing is that through the combination of the topic of migration and the Socratic seminar method you really get to enhance students’ 21st-century skills. In fact, they develop their critical thinking (they analyse the sources, they evaluate the sources, they ask deep questions based on evidence, dig deep into the topic).

They also learn how to communicate effectively in the discussion, they take responsibility for their learning (if they don’t prepare for the seminar they aren’t able to participate), they take initiative during the discussion, they become leaders because the teacher is only the facilitator and students are in the centre. Finally, they collaborate during the discussion (they assess each other, tell each other what was good and what they need to improve).

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CC BY 4.0 – The featured image used to illustrate this article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution. Therefore, it can be found in the Wellcome Collection. It has been resized and labelled to illustrate this article. To find the original image click here.

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