Socratic Seminar at Southwestern Academy ESL 3

Socratic Seminar at Southwestern Academy ESL 3

As the semester ends, students in the ESL Writing 3 course participated in a Socratic Seminar to conclude their semester long study of Sherman Alexie’s Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian. The Socratic Seminar is a student-led discussion that encourages students to investigate the important aspects of the novel in a way that privileges “discussion over debate” and “inquiry over information.”

For the past week, students reviewed their text and prepared potential discussion questions to present to the group. During the discussion, students practiced their English skills while interrogating complex racial, social, and literary themes from the book. Students displayed great ability to listen and collaborate with others while moving the group towards new insights and inquires.

One interesting idea proposed during the discussion was that True Diary, a book about a young Native American boy who leaves his home on the reservation to go to an all-white school to pursue his educational dreams, was the perfect book for ESL students because it mirrored their experience with leaving their homes and families to pursue their dreams of an education in the United States.

Now these students who have worked so diligently all year in their writing and literary analysis prepare to enjoy the summer and begin their next big school adventure in the Fall when they continue into mainstream classes.