#3B: Socratic Seminar

Topic Covered During Socratic Seminar: Tradition & Change

Texts: Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

Common Core Standards: CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.11-12.1.DCCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.11-12.1.A

Rationale: The goal of my Socratic Seminar is to have students explore the pros and cons of both respecting tradition and making progress as a society. Belonging to a group within which tradition is important is a concept that a lot of young people are familiar with, and there always seems to come a time in all of our lives when we are asked to choose between the traditions we are familiar with, and stepping outside of our comfort zone and letting go of our traditions, at least a little bit. I want my students to be able to complicate the idea of balancing a respect for tradition as well as a striving for progress and change. I hope with this socratic seminar that students will find that preserving tradition is just as important as striving for progress and change.

Essential Question: How can we respect tradition while continuing to make progress?


  • Can you share an example of a time when you felt like your traditions were questioned?
  • Why do you think certain characters in the novel are so opposed to change?
  • How does Okonkwo’s resistance to change inevitably affect him?
  • Who do you think has the authority to decide when it is time for change?
  • Why is it important to preserve tradition?
  • Why is it important for societies to continually evolve and change?
  • What would you have done in Okonkwo’s situation? Why?

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