Published: March 22, 2018 By

On March 15 the Women in Business club hosted a Socratic Seminar, led by alumni Julie Penner, Director of Techstars Boulder. Julie has a JD/MBA from the University of Colorado.

What is a Socratic Seminar? Socratic Seminars are named their embodiment of Socrates’ believe in the power of asking questions—they prioritize discussion over debate and acknowledge the social aspect of learning. The Socratic Seminar is a formal discussion based on anything—a book, a movie, even art. The leader asks open-ended questions and the students listen to comments from others, think critically, and articulate their own thoughts and responses to the text and each other. It’s not about a right or wrong answer; it’s about meeting and making something together. 

Every Socratic Seminar has a shared text. Julie selected “Out of the Shadow, Into the Light” from Let Your Life Speak by Parker Palmer.  It is a text discussing five “shadows” that affect leaders. This text initiated a lot of discussion about self-awareness and emotional intelligence. 

Julie uses Socratic Seminars as a way to bring leadership topics to entrepreneurs. These discussions “take you on a journey to decide who you are as a leader.” 

We enjoyed the exposure to a new type of group discussion and certainly will keep this method in mind for future team-building exercises. A big thank-you to Julie for walking us through our first Socratic Seminar!
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