Kristin Leong in her classroom on Socratic seminar day.
WHAT: Interactive workshop led byKristin Leong for anyone invested in schools--educators, curriculum planners, administrators, community organizers, teacher/student allies.
GOALS: 1) To fuel conversation about what it takes to make schools an affirming place for LGBTQ staff and students 2) To exploreSocratic seminars as a tool for student-led, inquiry-based learning (and for teaching dinner party skills)
Kristin Leong celebrating under the Space Needle after marching at Seattle's 2016 Pride Parade with the Washington Education Association. This was the first year the WEA marched at Pride.
On observing Kristin leading students in a Socratic seminar:
"This was a completely student-led Socratic seminar, with students operating autonomously, peer-coaching, wholly submerged in the exchange and demonstrably having fun. Watching itwas very much like watching a high-speed soccer or basketball game. Kristin, the teacher, only inter vened to call time-outs. At the end of the session, she engaged the whole class, verbally recognising individual students for exceptional exchanges, focusing primarily on when students had supported each other in the discussions, playing off others’ ideas or making good ‘hand-offs.’ Then students called out their compliments to each other for great points they had made or for excellent coaching or support.The students in this deep learning task were collaborating and working interdependently as peer learners, fully engaged in persuasive and skilled communication with each other.The teacher’s role was not that of a distant facilitator – she was continuously engaged in monitoring of the process of learning and used evidence from the debate to provide specific and grounded feedback to students." Fullan, M. & Langworthy, M. (2014). A Rich Seam: How New Pedagogies Find Deep Learning. London: Pearson. pp. 26-27, 42.
"When speaking, Kristin is nothing short of dynamic. Her knack for weaving personal classroom and life experiences with relevant informational text to provide context, allowed me to deeply consider the existing race gap in education, and acknowledge my role in closing it. Because she is an effective facilitator, Kristin's Socratic Seminar workshop showed me the power of encouraging my students to play a more active role in their learning both in and out of the classroom."--Brooke Carlyle Perry, Co-founder of The National Blogging Collaborative
"Kristin's workshop spoke to the educator's heart and soul on multiple levels. She lures you in with a wry smile while sharing practical pedagogy and then challenges your worldview on issues close to your heart. Ultimately, she sends you off inspired and empowered for what you can accomplish moving forward."--Douglas Ferguson, Elementary STEM Specialist
"Kristin's Socratic Seminar workshop allows participants the time to participate and process how to use the strategy in their own teaching situation. She inspired me to take the plunge and do a Socratic Seminar in my Middle School math class! It was an experience my students will never forget."--Debbie Aldous, NBCT, math teacher and Camp Director for Girl Scouts of Western Washington
"[Kristin] led the conversations, the day with such grace and respect. [She] validated each and every person who spoke, and [she] created a safe environment so that differing opinions could be shared. No wonder [her] students love [her] so much."--Melissa Laramie, Director of Communications for the Puget Sound Educational Service District, from a CorelaborateWA.org comment here
"This was an amazing workshop!"--Saraswati Noel, math teacher and 2016 Imagine Us Leader for Equity and Justice
More reflections on Kristin:
"Kristin Leong pairs powerful storytelling, inspiring teaching, and critical thought in every experience and setting she creates. She inspires all of us to tell our stories. I look to Kristin as my #1 resource when seeking innovative ideas that work." --Mozart Guerrier, MSW, Executive Director of 21 Progress, TEDx Speaker
"Kristin’s classroom is such a supportive and enthusiastic environment for these young poets." --Three-time World Poetry Slam Champion Buddy Wakefield on joining Kristin's class for Focus Week 2014 at International School.
"On my first day in Ms. Leong’s class I freaked out. She made us perform out during class, constantly collaborate with our partners, and analyze Shakespeare in relation to pop culture. And no homework? She broke all the norms. She rocked piercings, winged eyeliner and skinny jeans. At first I worried that this class was insane. After two years as Ms. Leong’s Humanities student, I am now in 9th grade and I am her teacher assistant. Getting to see behind-the-scenes on her “student-led classroom” philosophy as a TA, I realize now that the class isn’t insane, it is a creative and nurturing environment for middle schoolers to find their own paths. I see her as a role model for not only students, but educators as well. Ms. Leong has expressed that “teaching is a performance”. Her passion has taught me that I too, can advocate for myself and succeed without fitting into molds."--Christina, former student, for an assignment with The Seattle Times
"Kristin's poetry has a freshness to it, peppered with a sharp edge of down-to-earth authenticity. At times, she is wryly funny. At others, she brings an angry tear to her listener's eye. But all the time, she rhythmically, melodically delivers a message of justice, reality, and hope."--Kathryn Hightower, Director of Seattle's Women Arts Festival
"Kristin is a passionate and dynamic educator who uses literature and spoken word to make learning relevant and engaging to students. Her creative, student-centered approach encourages critical thinking, fosters personal growth, and stretches students to grow beyond their comfort zones." --Danica Hendrickson, Curriculum Director, Facing the Future
"Kristin has the ability to pull students out of their comfort zone without them even realizing it! " -- Erin F., mother of 8th grader