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.
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
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!
1. Come to seminar prepared and informed. You will be evaluated on the
QUALITY and QUANTITY of your comments, questions, responses, and
attentiveness. YOU CANNOT SIT PASSIVELY AT SEMINAR AND SUCCEED. If you do not
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.