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The Habit of Thought


The Habit of Thought   
by Michael Strong

$ 15.00


Format: 6 x 9 softcover, 201 pages

ISBN# 978-0-944337-39-4


Michael Strong

Teach students to think for themselves. The Habit of Thought describes the theory, practice, and vision of Socratic practice, a novel and increasingly widespread approach to classroom instruction. In this series of thought-provoking essays, Strong argues that Socratic practice fosters a culture of learning in the classroom and ultimately helps young people become mature, independent thinkers. Issues discussed range from the philosophical (intellectual dialogue and integrity) to the practical (classroom models and evaluation rubrics).

I imagine how we can transform a school; and I believe it is through just such work as you describe. - Deborah Meier, former principal of Central Park East in Harlem, and author of The Power of Their Ideas

Michael Strong's ideas made me the teacher that I am today. Socratic Practice gives meaning and relevance not only to our curricular studies within the school, but also to our out-of-school lives. - Elaine Griffin, 1995 National Teacher of the Year

author information

Michael Strong was educated at Harvard University, St. John's College in Santa Fe (where he graduated first in his class), and the University of Chicago. Socratic practice is based on a classroom technique developed by Strong and his colleagues, the teacher trainers of the Alaska Paideia Project, in public school classrooms of Alaska between 1990 and 1994. Strong is a cofounder of Atheneum Middle School in Anchorage. A member of the National Paideia Faculty, Strong was also director of the Center for Socratic Practice at the Judson Montessori School in San Antonio, Texas, where he consulted for clients across the nation while developing a model Socratic Practice program in San Antonio.


Acknowledgments ... vii

Introduction ... 1

1. On Socratic Seminars ... 39

2. Intellectual Integrity: A Non-cognitive Interpretation of Genius ... 73

3. Four Classroom Models: Integrating Socratic Seminars into Content-driven Classrooms ... 95

4. Socratic Practice as Classroom Organizing Principle ... 119

5. From Gossip to Abstraction: Intellectual Dialogue as a Prerequisite to Algebra ... 165

Appendix A -- Socratic Practice / Ready for Work Class Participation Assessment Rubric ... 179

Appendix B -- Resources for Implementation ... 187

Appendix C -- What to Do on Monday: The Learning Club Approach to Implementing Socratic Practice ... 191

Bibliography ... 197


From the Introduction:

Socratic practice occupies a space between general pedagogical advice, on the one hand, and packaged pedagogical programs, on the other hand ... It allows teachers latitude in their classroom practice while also providing direction. It will be useful to those teachers who want to develop habits of thought in their students through intellectual dialogue.

Socratic practice is an approach to classroom conversation: reading, thinking, talking, and listening. This approach may be used in all disciplines, with all types of students. Although conversation may be used with young children, the focus of Socratic practice is directed towards the development of reading and thinking abilities in children grade four and up.

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