Russian Revolution Socratic Seminar



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World History - Greenberg

Russian Revolution Socratic Seminar

In a Socratic Seminar, participants seek to better understand complex ideas through thoughtful dialogue and questioning. The teacher is a facilitator and observer, but not the expert disseminating information. Students are expected to help each other deepen and clarify their understanding. In this case, our class will focus on better understanding the causes, course and consequences of the Russian Revolution.


General Format of Socratic Seminar:

  • Small groups will sit in the center of the room “Inner Circle” for 12-15 minutes.

  • Each small group will discuss ONE of the “Seminar Questions” below.

  • You will not know which question you’ll be asked to discuss until the Seminar begins.

  • When you are not in the “inner circle” discussion, be attentive and take notes if you wish. The “outer circle” people can ask questions or make comments after the “inner circle” discussion is finished.


Guidelines for “Inner Circle” Participants:

  • Refer to specific evidence from preparatory notes during the discussion.

  • Build off each other’s ideas and ask others for clarification of their comments.

  • Take turns speaking; you should not have to raise your hands, be aware, inclusive and polite.

  • Use academic listening & speaking techniques (eye contact, posture, clear voice, appropriate language)


Assessment of Socratic Seminar

  • Preparatory Notes (Worth 9 Points. Assessed on criteria below):

    • Specific Details (from either text, unit packet and/or online related to ALL 5 Discussion Questions)

    • Commentary (links details to Discussion Questions…BOLD your commentary)

    • Typed

  • Participation (Worth 6 Points. Assessed on criteria below):

    • Active Involvement (Engaged Speaking & Listening)

    • Staying on Topic (Making clear connections to other comments and Seminar Questions)

    • Evidence (Supporting your ideas with specific names, terms and quotes)


Russian Revolution Socratic Seminar Discussion Questions

  1. Was the end of absolute rule by the Czar over Russia in 1917 inevitable? Were the Bolsheviks liberators or opportunists?




  1. Did Lenin’s approach to revolution in Russia uphold the ideals of Communism? Did he help or hurt Russia?




  1. Was Stalin’s rule over Russia better than that of the Czar? Did he help or hurt Russia compared to the Czar?



  1. What is Animal Farm’s assessment of Human Nature? What is Animal Farm’s assessment of Stalinism? Do you agree with what it is saying?




  1. Why do revolutions that promise to help the average citizen sometimes result in totalitarian dictatorships? What lessons does the Russian Revolution have for the modern world?

TOTAL POINTS = 15 points (homework/class work grade)

Some helpful Resources

There is a lot of information online and in books about these topics. The links below are just to get you started and broaden your horizons beyond Wikipedia. Do your own searching in addition to this.

http://history1900s.about.com/od/people/a/Nicholas-II.htm czar nicholas biography

http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/historic_figures/lenin_vladimir.shtml Biography of Lenin

http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/gcsebitesize/history/mwh/russia/lifeinleninsrussiarev1.shtml life in Lenin’s Russia

http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/gcsebitesize/history/mwh/russia/theneprev1.shtml New Economic Policy

http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/gcsebitesize/history/mwh/russia/leninandbolshevikrevolutionrev1.shtml Timeline of October Revolution

http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/ussr-established Creation of USSR

http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/worldwars/wwone/eastern_front_01.shtml War and Revolution in Russia

http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/s/joseph_stalin/index.html A list of lots of New York Times articles about Joseph Stalin

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/23/opinion/23iht-edyoung.1.14724126.html?_r=0 Article on Stalin vs the Tsar

http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/historic_figures/stalin_joseph.shtml Stalin Bio

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-30828697 interesting article about Stalin’s grandson

http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-21337504 Some history of George Orwell and Animal Farm

http://www.sparknotes.com/history/european/interwaryears/section4.rhtml Totalitarianism in Soviet Union

http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/worldwars/coldwar/stalin_01.shtml Stalin’s more “human” side

http://gulaghistory.org/nps/onlineexhibit/ articles about the Gulag



http://gulaghistory.org/nps/onlineexhibit/stalin/
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