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by Kristi Youmans
Paideia Seminars or discussion seminars are wonderful strategies to get students thinking about a particular subject, article, idea, or book in a deep and meaningful way. This type of instruction prepares students for the 21st century by facilitating the development of communication skills, critical thinking skills, collaboration, and problem-solving. In this book, the author has written about how she approaches seminars in her own classroom with students. Paideia Seminars are not at all intimidating to facilitate, and once you have done one or two, you will be hooked.
Students begin to open up and share deep thoughts and ideas spawned from a particular subject or reading selection and by listening to their peers’ ideas. Students may agree or disagree with their peers, but they learn to do both respectfully and with much thought. Students are given an opportunity to answer pre-seminar questions to get them thinking about the material. Then in the actual seminar students are asked some of the same questions that they have previously reflected upon, but other questions are asked as well to see how well they have connected the different themes, lessons, morals, characterization, and big ideas from the material. Students are asked to support their answers with details from the material, to make connections to other texts or real-world experiences, and to fully explain their answers. Rubrics are included to grade students on how thoroughly they participated in the seminar. Not only will you be hooked after facilitating these seminars, but your students will enjoy them as well!
sample pages paideia seminar 3-5.pdf