|“If you want to master something, teach it.”
– Richard Feynman
The line between teacher and student is not always well defined for high school students participating in a student-led seminar at Loveland Classical Schools. For ninth graders in Mr. Hild’s literature class this Thursday, the discussion was on Vergil’s Aeneid and facilitation was shared by two students who led the discussion.
These two students had no prior warning that this was their day to lead. Facilitation responsibilities are assigned at the beginning of each class, and even students who have already been chosen can be chosen again. As a result, every student must prepare each night by reading the assigned pages and completing study questions.
The discussion itself is a Socratic Seminar, in which students listen to one another, raising their hand to be recognized when they have something to contribute. Even Mr. Hild, who has delegated the teaching role, raises his hand to be called on when he has something to add. They are all practicing civilized discourse.
Ultimately, for students, knowing that any day could be the day they are called on to lead the seminar raises the stakes. Every day, they must not only learn the material, or even just understand it. They must begin to master it.