Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

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  Workshop 5: Patriotism & Foreign Policy  
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Workshop 5

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Teacher Perspectives
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Student Perspectives: Socratic Questioning

Courtnie: Ms. Chandler starts the day by standing up and asking a warm-up question. If you don't get to class on time, you will miss that question. I think that's about 15 points toward your grade, so everyone rushes to class so that we can make that warm-up point.

Leo: One of the big things that Ms. Chandler does is ask questions. She doesn't ramble on in big long lectures like some teachers do. She gives us the opportunity to "imagine." She may ask a question that just makes us think. When everyone is agreeing, she'll play devil's advocate and turn the theater department on the music department or the museum studies department on the literary media department. It gives us a debate. Not like we're yelling at each other, but to the point where we're trying to figure out, “Is this true? Is this how it is? Is this what it's going to be like?” It opens doors for us.

Myra: Her questions are one thing that really grab attention. The minute somebody asks you a question, you are forced to sit back and think about it. Whether you answer it or not, it’s still in your mind, and I think that is something she uses very powerfully with us. She works at getting us to think. If she does not see our minds working, she knows something is wrong and will come up with some question to get us on the right track of critical thinking. Those questions really, really challenge us. Ms. Chandler finds ways to relate them to us so that we will be able to understand and really make it a personal answer. She tries to let everyone have a chance. If you try to speak more than once, she will say, “Hang on, let somebody else speak,” which I really appreciate because I know if you don’t stop me, I will go on and talk forever. Also, once the question is old, she will move on to a new one. She has a whole list. If we get off track, she asks questions that pull us right back on track. Sometimes I don’t even realize that she is doing it . . . I really enjoyed today because her questions were clear. We started out with a really broad question--What is patriotism?--and then it became more specific, moving into what tactics the U.S. should use in relating to other countries. As you get into it more specifically, it is like you are getting closer and closer to the final realization of the whole discussion, and everybody comes out with their own realization.


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