The American educational system seems to be entrenched in memorization and regurgitation rather than true learning; its methodologies have become dictated more and more by standardized tests, and its teachers have become driven more and more by job security and pay based on the results of those tests.
Brain research indicates that passive learning does not promote long-term memory. It is only the means to short-term retention-information held just long enough to get the grade on Friday's exam or to pass an Advanced Placement test at the end of the school year, before it is forgotten forever. To be retained for any significant length of time, the material must be learned by active involvement-by student ownership of learning.
Therefore, Capstone Classical Academy employs the use of Socratic seminar, which is uses dialogue as its fundamental methodology. The goal of Socratic seminar is for scholars to willingly suspend their belief systems in order to give other opinions a chance. Rather than immediately trying to prove the opposition wrong, scholars must consider all possibilities.
The three simple rules of Socratic Seminar are:
1) Listen! A scholar may not start a sentence until the previous speaker has finished.
2) Refer directly to the text.
3) Build on, rather than tear down, other's comments.
Scholars engage in Socratic seminar every Friday, and parents are encouraged to observe the discussion!
Beginner's Guide to the Socratic Seminar - Jerry Chris, Ed.D