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Westminster College Students and Lecturer Present Research at the Three Rivers TESOL Conference

Friday, December 14, 2012

NEW WILMINGTON, Pa. - Two Westminster students and a professor hosted a workshop at the Three Rivers TESOL Conference Oct. 27 at Duquesne University.

"Socratic Seminars: A Powerful (and Fun) Metacognitive Discussion Technique" was presented by Tina Keller, lecturer of education, Jenna Grandy, and Maggie Hess. During the interactive session, the theoretical background and process of using Socratic Seminars as a metacognitive technique was examined. The session included the opportunity for members to participate in a short Socratic Seminar, which was facilitated by Grandy and Hess. Additionally, a question and answer time was allotted with Grandy, Hess and Keller to provide participants with the opportunity to see the strategy from a variety of perspectives.

"In a Socratic Seminar, the participants carry the burden of responsibility for the quality of the discussion. Good discussions occur when participants study the text closely in advance, listen actively, share their ideas and questions in response to the ideas and questions of others, and search for evidence in the text to support their ideas," Keller said. "The discussion is not about right answers; it is not a debate. Students are encouraged to think out loud and to exchange ideas openly while examining ideas in a rigorous, thoughtful, manner."

Keller earned an undergraduate degree in elementary education from Messiah College and a master's in curriculum and instruction with an emphasis in children's literature from Pennsylvania State University.

Grandy, a sophomore early childhood/special education major, is a daughter of Leonard and Darla Grandy and a graduate of Sharpsville High School.

Hess, a sophomore English major and secondary education minor, is a daughter of Karen Jasper of Everett and a graduate of Chestnut Ridge High School.

The mission of the Department of Education at Westminster College is to prepare early childhood/special education and secondary teachers who are distinguished by their subject matter knowledge, interpersonal capacities, pedagogical skills, and professional attitudes. Through study in general course work and professional education, students are encouraged to build a professional knowledge base. Meaningful classroom experiences, opportunities with children, and partnerships with schools and agencies enable students to make connections between academic work and the field of basic education.

Contact Keller at (724) 946-6034 or email for additional information on the program.

About Westminster College...
Founded in 1852 and related to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Westminster College ranks first in the nation as "Best College for Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math," according to Forbes.com. Westminster is a top-tier liberal arts college and a national leader in graduation rate performance, according to U.S. News Best Colleges guide. Westminster is also honored as one of "The Best 377 Colleges" by The Princeton Review, and is named to the President's Honor Roll for excellence in service learning.

Nearly 1,600 undergraduate and graduate students benefit from individualized attention from dedicated faculty while choosing from 41 majors and nearly 100 organizations on the New Wilmington, Pa., campus. Visit www.westminster.edu/advantage to view "Advantage: Westminster" A Strategic Plan 2010-2020.


Click image to enlarge.

(l-r) Maggie Hess, Jenna Grandy and Tina Keller.