In this class, we attempted a large scale Socratic seminar regarding Mark Prensky’s article on going digital and discussed the specifics of our book club project for next class. We also looked at how to create questions for our book clubs or Socratic seminars.
Whenever I think about creating questions, I think back to training I received on how to counsel others when I was in the Peace Corps. One thing that we learned is that, aside from thinking in terms of open and closed questions, you also have to think about what responses of yours can facilitate sharing by the person you are talking to. Giving advice is the least facilitative thing you can do in a conversation. It reads like a lecture or directions. There is no room for feedback or discussion. One of the most facilitative things that you can do (aside from using open ended questions) is to restate or rephrase what the other person said: “Correct me if i’m wrong, but it seems like you are saying…” and then say exactly what they just said. It leaves room for more acute delineation of ideas or further explanation. When people explain things further, they have a better chance of being really understood by the person they are talking to and they get to explore their own feelings and ideas at an even deeper level.
From what I remember, the continuum looked something like this (worst–>best):
Advice– Judgement– Closed Questions– Open Questions– Restating
I think that restatement can be an easy tool to help book clubs and Socratic seminars move in a direction that was not previously accounted for in planning. I also like the “Pose, Pause, Bounce, Bounce” method that Kristin shared with our 638 class. When I find the link for that video, I will post it on here.
Also, if you haven’t read David Lankes’ latest blog post about libraries of the future and redefining library school, I would highly suggest it! I often lament over the classes that I don’t get to take because they are overshadowed by semester-long reference, collection development, and cataloging requirements (if I were queen of the world, I would squish them in to a single semester course called “traditional librarianship”). Apparently students over at Syracuse are revolting and holding their own lecture series to account for things they think they need to know but never get to learn in their library classes. I like the sound of that; it makes me proud of my generation of incoming librarians. My mind is just buzzing with opportunities to utilize badge systems for situations just like this. So I pose this to you, my dear readers in SI 643: what else do you think you need to know to be the librarian that you want to be?