Mr. O'Shaughnessy: AP Government and Politics

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Seminar Guidelines

  Student run Socratic seminars are at the heart of reaching a new level of 
understanding and scholarship.  In each session we will discuss topics that 
the College Board tends to favor on the AP exam.  They are designed to help 
you derive a deeper appreciation for things crucial to historical literacy.  
More importantly, by the combined brainpower of the whole class, inquiry, and 
discussion can ascend to a new plane, a higher place where one's grade, while 
important, is not paramount. This is the place where learning is not for 
teacher, or grade, or parent, or even for self, but for the learning alone. 
To accomplish the trek to this new level, I ask for your open mind, a Zen 
mind, or "beginner's mind"...where all is still possible.

Student Leader:
1. Fear not. You're not required to be an "oracle" or "font of knowledge".  
Naturally, you must be prepared to discuss the topic at hand.  You should 
have a strong overall view in order to direct the discussion and ask 
provocative questions.

2. Your most important task is to: a) stimulate interest through comments and 
questions, b) Try to keep everyone involved in the action.  Sometimes the 
most interesting points come from habitually shy or quiet people, c)Control 
the pace and tenor by moving on to other facets of the topic or by posing new 

3. One of the best ways to be a good seminar leader is to convey some part of 
the topic that you found particularly interesting.  Have some enthusiasm!

Everyone Else:
1. Come to seminar prepared and informed. You will be evaluated on the 
QUALITY and QUANTITY of your comments, questions, responses, and 
interact or contribute to the activity you will receive a poor rating.  It is 
your responsibility to get the attention of the Student Leader and speak to 
the point. Believe it when I tell you that your efforts to participate (or 
not) will be observed and noted. Please be mindful of the situation your 
classmate is in as Seminar Leader and make it a good session.  After all, 
you'll be in that chair soon yourself.   

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Last Modified: Thursday, August 29, 2013
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