Using Socratic Circles to Engage English Language Learners in Historical Inquiry and Discussion

  • Hayriye Kayi-Aydar
  • Jason L. Endacott
  • Christian Z. Goering


This chapter describes how Socratic circles, a dialogic tool that is shown to increase learning talk, can engage English learners (ELs) in historical discussion following inquiry methods of learning in the social studies. Drawing on the related literature, we provide educators with a background about cultural competency and positionalities, historical inquiry, and Socratic circles. Evidence-based examples and strategies are then provided for using historical inquiry and Socratic circles in the social studies classroom to teach important yet difficult concepts (e.g., democracy, liberty) and connect them to content-based curricula. We conclude by connecting dialogue to the C3 frameworks to foster ELs’ civic participation, involvement, and agency and discuss implications and applications for teacher education.


Socratic Circle English Language Learners (ELLs) Social Studies Teachers Tool Dialog Native English-speaking Peers 
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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hayriye Kayi-Aydar
    • 1
  • Jason L. Endacott
    • 2
  • Christian Z. Goering
    • 2
  1. 1.University of ArizonaTucsonUSA
  2. 2.University of ArkansasFayettevilleUSA

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