• Philosophical Chairs

    Philosophical Chairs is a format for classroom discussion and engagement. While this activity uses a format similar to debate, it is dialogue that is valued in AVID classrooms. The benefits of this discussion activity include the development of students’ abilities to give careful attention to other students’ comments and to engage in dialogue with one another to gain a greater understanding of the topic presented. Like Socratic Seminar, Philosophical Chairs exemplifies the use of WIC-R strategies in lesson planning. Inquiry and collaboration are inherent in Philosophical Chairs, and writing and reading are easily incorporated into a plan that results in the integration of the four components of WIC-R. Additionally, this activity makes a great prewriting activity as it allows students to gain and develop a variety of ideas about a topic. Philosophical Chairs differs from Socratic Seminar in that it is not dependent on a text, but the reading of some text before engaging in the activity can only enhance the process. Philosophical Chairs focuses on a central statement or topic that is controversial. A list of possible topics is included in this unit, but you should also develop statements that are relevant to both your students’lives and grade levels. Current events make great Philosophical Chairs topics.