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Socratic Discussion appropriate for 11 yr old


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DD's levels of Reading and Comprehension are much higher than writing skills at this point. We are going through some great Literature at a pretty fast pace and I want to make sure I'm helping her get the most out of it and we are going deep enough. What is an appropriate level of discussion and reasoning output that I could expect from an 11 yo. Usually we start with her sumarizing, then we go into deeper questions about theme and character development. We compare characters to other books, I ask about challenges the characters face, lessons learned, etc.

Right now is mostly me asking questions; how do I evolve into more of a debate and encourage her to disagree with me, express her own ideas and opinions more freely?

I hope this makes sense. Am I doing it right? Any resources you can share?

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I'm currently reading Socratic Circles by Mark Copeland, but his program focuses on groups of students with what seems like less participation from the teacher so not completely applicable to the homeschool setting.

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It can work well to have her prepare questions ahead of time. You tell her that in three days, or a week, or whenever, you are going to have discussion, so she should have seven questions ready. Then she can read her questions. It is a bit canned at first, but it helps with give and take. It can also help her begin to frame her thoughts.

We focus a lot on the overall ideas expressed about the roles of men, women, and children. Also society and ruling class/government, but those don't apply to all books as well. Having my son see the cultural messages of those roles has really helped him frame the historical trends going on in a time period. The society/government roles help him to identify the recurring struggles of civilization (responsibility & freedom/ control & rules; inequality & financial disruption/ distribution of wealth & stability; expansion & conflict/ limited resources & limited choices). These sorts of discussions have really broadened and deepened his understanding of literature as a cultural representation of people.

There is a great series (seven episodes) on YouTube as well as Netflix called East to West, that discusses how cultures expanded, overlapped, and worked together. It really does a fantastic job of talking about how the literature and classics of both cultures overlaps. These added quite a lot to our literature/culture/history studies. And they are free!

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We focus a lot on the overall ideas expressed about the roles of men, women, and children. Also society and ruling class/government, but those don't apply to all books as well. Having my son see the cultural messages of those roles has really helped him frame the historical trends going on in a time period. The society/government roles help him to identify the recurring struggles of civilization (responsibility & freedom/ control & rules; inequality & financial disruption/ distribution of wealth & stability; expansion & conflict/ limited resources & limited choices). These sorts of discussions have really broadened and deepened his understanding of literature as a cultural representation of people.


This is great. Thank you so much! We are still reading a lot of fantasy and adventure but these are great topics to apply and I will certaily keep them in mind. I'll check out the YouTube videos as well. I YouTube things for them all the time, they've done a ton of drawing and painting from lessons I pulled from there recently.
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I'm really enjoying MCT's Classics in the Classroom right now, enough to go trumpeting about it in a few different threads today it seems. :) He has a whole list of "thinking/feeling skills" based on Bloom's taxonomy that's suggested to use with literature discussions. I'm also just getting into the bit on higher-order thinking and Socratic teaching. Um...FWIW, Thompson recommends going to the source, Plato's Dialogues. He says you can start with the Apology.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I thought I'd bring these books to your attention as possible resources:

 

How to Read Literature Like a Professor: A Lively and Entertaining Guide to Reading Between the Lines by Thomas C. Foster

 

The author also has a version for children -- How to Read Literature Like a Professor: For Kids.

 

Regards,

Kareni

 

Shannon has been reading through the "for kids" version and she brought up what she'd learned from the book about symbolism while we were discussing a poem - so yay, it's sticking!  She's in 11 and in 6th, that's been the perfect time to read this book for her, so OP, I would definitely suggest it in your case.  Some kids on this board my be able to tackle it earlier, but you definitely want them ready to talk about their readings analytically.

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...

There is a great series (seven episodes) on YouTube as well as Netflix called East to West, that discusses how cultures expanded, overlapped, and worked together. It really does a fantastic job of talking about how the literature and classics of both cultures overlaps. These added quite a lot to our literature/culture/history studies. And they are free!

 

I was very interested in this but have a bit of trouble tracking it down online.  Is it still at Netflix?  couldn't find it there. 

 

I did find it on youtube: a search for "East to West: Between Two Rivers" will bring up the first episode. 

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Honestly, I've used Socratic discussion in the classroom with kids as young as 1st grade... (Obviously they don't necessarily get very deep at that age, but sometimes they'll surprise you!)

Really, Socratic discussion is nothing more than asking kids leading/guiding questions to get them to make their own connections and conclusions, as well as leading them in to asking their own questions.  

 

If you want disagreement, play devil's advocate.  

"Why does Atticus tell us it's a sin to kill a mockingbird?  It must be important if it's the title, afterall.  So what do you think it might mean?" 

Once you get her thoughts, toss is something completely off the wall.  

Either she'll disagree, or she'll change her mind to agree with you.  Perfect chance to teach her to defend her position.  

 

 

 

Or is the question really not so much about Socratic discussion as it is about how much depth can you expect from an 11 year old's literary analysis?

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I was very interested in this but have a bit of trouble tracking it down online.  Is it still at Netflix?  couldn't find it there. 

 

I did find it on youtube: a search for "East to West: Between Two Rivers" will bring up the first episode. 

 

They must have just removed it! I l recently put it on my list, and now it is not there. A search says it is unavailable.

 

Thanks for finding it on youtube! I was looking forward to watching it and would have been disappointed when I eventually got to it.

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