Our curricula is research-based and refined by over 38 years of feedback from educators in the field.
Since 1984, our discussion curricula and programs have fostered understanding, leadership, and community in schools worldwide. We believe that all students come to the classroom with strengths. By sharing and examining their ideas through Touchstones, your students go beyond the Socratic Seminar and come to a greater understanding of themselves and others.
What are schools saying about Touchstones?
“It was really exciting to me to watch the evolution of [my students’] thinking and then their ability to listen to one another and change their opinions…you begin to see the students develop a new respect for one another in terms of the kinds of comments and observations there able to make.”
Teacher, Chesapeake Academy, MD
“I have absolutely loved teaching Touchstones this year. I have watched my students grow into expert conversationalists over the last several months. I was amazed recently when I had them discuss a piece that was not in our textbook and they were able to apply the Touchstones guidelines, make connections, and respectfully disagree with each other while using supporting arguments. It was awesome!”
Teacher, Two Roads Charter School School, CO
“I appreciate the diversity of [Touchstones’] materials. [They] offer authentic stories as a springboard for class discussion“
Teacher, Canyon Ridge Elementary, San Antonio, TX
“In my twenty years as an educator serving both urban and rural students, I have encountered no program that more explicitly positions students at the core of teaching and learning than Touchstones. “
Teacher, Trenton Public Schools, Trenton, NJ
What does it mean to go #BeyondtheSocraticSeminar?
Although the Touchstones method shares some common elements with Socratic seminars, in Touchstones, discussion skills are prioritized to provide a foundation for exploring content in class; they are explicitly taught and systematically strengthened over time. The primary goal of Touchstones is to build the skills necessary for teachers and students to take part in inclusive group discussions, in any context, driven by participants themselves. We focus on process because we believe strong discussion skills are a prerequisite for all other forms of collaboration.