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Socratic Seminars

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									Theology III: Conscience Formation/Ms. Scaramella /Socratic Seminar/Spring 2010

"The unexamined life is not worth living."
-Socrates


Socratic Seminar:
Topic: “Do Our Civil Laws Reflect Divine Law?”
Date: Monday, C-Day, March 22, 2010

To sum up our study of “Law as a Guide to Freedom” and “Jesus as Moral Guide,” we will be discussing the
following questions within a Socratic Seminar format:
        Is a particular law a “good” law, according to the criteria of natural law, as defined by Thomas Aquinas?
        Is this particular civil law in conformity with divine law, according to the definition of divine law?
        If the civil law is not in conformity with divine law, how should it be reformed, and why?

To focus your seminar discussion, each of you will be reading three articles on the current US Health Care
Reform debate.

    A. Preparation:
        Before you come to your Socratic Seminar class, you must complete the following:
    1. ALL students must read BOTH of the assigned articles from America magazine for background :
               #1. “Healing Health Care,” June 2009
               #2. “A Time for Reform,” August 2009
    2. In addition, each student must read, analyze and be prepared to share the content of ONE of the
       following articles:
               #3. “Catholic Charities Refuses to Oppose Obama Health Care Bill.” August 2009
               #4. Catholic Medical Association Letter (2 articles) February 2010
               #5. “Why Is Health Care Reform So Difficult?” March 2010
               #6. “Senate Approves Health Care Reform Bill,” December 2009
               #7. “Health Care Reform,” Facts on File, February 2010
    3. Take notes and/or highlight key points from your articles that you find relevant to analysis of whether
       the current health care reform bill represents good civil law and is in conformity with divine law. Bring
       these notes to class for reference during your seminar discussion.

B. Guidelines for Participants in a Socratic Seminar
    1. Refer to the document and your notes when needed during the discussion. A seminar is not a test of
        memory. You are not learning a subject; your goal is to understand the ideas, issues, and values reflected
        in your sources.
    2. Do not participate if you are not prepared. (A seminar is not about sharing opinions, but information.)
    3. Do not stay confused; ask for clarification.
    4. Stick to the point currently under discussion; make notes about ideas you want to come back to.
    5. Don't raise hands; take turns speaking.
    6. Listen carefully.
    7. Speak up so that all can hear you.
    8. Talk to each other, not to the leader or teacher.
    9. Discuss ideas rather than each other’s opinions.
    10. You are responsible for the seminar, even if you don’t know it or admit it.


C. Post-Seminar Review:
        After your seminar discussion, you will be asked to write a summary of
                --what you learned from your research as well as
                --what you learned from at least two other members of your seminar group in order to outline
                --your final assessment of whether or not the current Health Care Reform bill represents good
                  civil law and reflects divine law. (See attached participant rubric questions and reflections.)
Socratic Seminar: Participant Rubric

Be able to provide specific, detailed commentary for the following:


    1. Did you offer solid analysis, without prompting, to move the discussion forward? How?



    2. Did your comments demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of the article and the question?
       Summarize your specific contributions to the discussion.


    3. Did you come to the seminar prepared, with notes and marked/annotated articles?
       Did your remarks often refer back to specific parts of the articles you consulted?



    4. Did you offer clarification and/or follow-up that extended the discussion?


    5. Did your comments show that you were actively listening to other participants?
       Summarize what you learned from two other participants in your group.




Review: What is the difference between dialogue and debate?

           Dialogue is collaborative: multiple sides       Debate is oppositional: two opposing sides try
            work toward shared understanding.                to prove each other wrong.
           In dialogue, one listens to understand, to      In debate, one listens to find flaws, to spot
            make meaning, and to find common                 differences, and to counter arguments.
            ground.                                         Debate defends assumptions as truth.
           Dialogue enlarges and possibly changes a        Debate creates a close-minded attitude, a
            participant's point of view.                     determination to be right.
           Dialogue creates an open-minded attitude:       In debate, one submits one's best thinking and
            an openness to being wrong and an                defends it against challenge to show that it is
            openness to change.                              right.
           In dialogue, one submits one's best             Debate calls for investing wholeheartedly in
            thinking, expecting that other people's          one's beliefs.
            reflections will help improve it rather         In debate, one searches for weaknesses in the
            than threaten it.                                other position.
           Dialogue calls for temporarily suspending       Debate rebuts contrary positions and may
            one's beliefs.                                   belittle or deprecate other participants.
           In dialogue, one searches for strengths in      Debate assumes a single right answer that
            all positions.                                   somebody already has.
           Dialogue respects all the other                 Debate demands a conclusion.
            participants and seeks not to alienate or
            offend.
           Dialogue assumes that many people have
            pieces of answers and that cooperation
            can lead to a greater understanding.
           Dialogue remains open-ended.
Socratic Seminar: Participant Rubric

Be able to provide specific, detailed commentary for the following:

    1.   Did you offer solid analysis, without prompting, to move the discussion forward?



    2. Did your comments demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of the article and the question?



    3. Did you come to the seminar prepared, with notes and marked/annotated articles?
       Did your remarks often refer back to specific parts of the articles you consulted?



    4. Did you offer clarification and/or follow-up that extended the discussion?



    5. Did your comments show that you were actively listening to other participants?
       Summarize what you learned from two other participants in your group.




Reflection Essay Rubric :

    1. Are you able to summarize and evaluate the key points you learned from the reading of your assigned
       article and your additional research on this issue?

    2. Are you able to assess in detail, with reference to particular discussion points, your participation in the
       seminar discussion (see questions 1-4 above)?

    3. Are you able to summarize what you learned from at least two other participants in your group?

    4. Are you able to synthesize both your own research and what you learned from the comments of others to
       form a valid response to the question “Does Civil Law Reflect Divine Law?” on the issue of Health Care in
       the United States?

    5. Did you provide your additional Sources Consulted?
A or B Level Participant

       Participant offers solid analysis without prompting
       Through comments, participant demonstrates excellent knowledge of the text and the question
       Participant uses textual evidence to support analysis, demonstrating insightful understanding
       Participant has come to the seminar prepared, with notes and a marked/annotated text
       Participant shows that he/she is actively listening to others and offers clarification and/or follow-up
       Participant expresses herself articulately


C Level Participant

       Participant offers some analysis, but needs prompting
       Through comments, participant demonstrates a general knowledge of the text and question
       Participant is less prepared, with few notes and no marked/annotated text
       Participant is actively listening to others, but does not offer clarification and/or follow-up to others’
        comments
       Participant relies more upon his or her opinion, and less on the text to drive her comments

D or F Level Participant

       Participant offers little commentary
       Participant comes to the seminar ill-prepared with little understanding of the text and question
       Participant does not listen to others, offers no commentary to further the discussion
       Participant distracts the group by interrupting other speakers, monopolizing the seminar, or offering off
        topic questions and comments.
       Participant ignores the discussion and its participants


Comments:




                                                                           Seminar Grade: ________

								
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