Using questions to teach: Socratic Method

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Transcript Using questions to teach: Socratic Method

“Can it be, Ischomachus, that asking questions is teaching? I am
just beginning to see what is behind all your questions. You lead
me on by means of things I know, point to things that resemble
them, and persuade me that I know things that I thought I had no
knowledge of.”
- Socrates (Quoted in Xenophon's "Economics")
2011- Tulsa Community College- Engaged Student Programming
During Socratic questioning, the tutor is a model of critical thinking who
respects students' viewpoints, probes their understanding, and shows
genuine interest in their thinking. The tutor poses questions that are more
meaningful than those a novice of a given topic might develop on his or her
own. The tutor creates and sustains an intellectually stimulating classroom
environment and acknowledges the value of the student in that
environment. In an intellectually open, safe, and demanding learning
environment, students will be challenged, yet comfortable in answering
questions honestly and fully in front of their peers.
2011- Tulsa Community College- Engaged Student Programming
Plan significant questions that provide structure and direction to the lesson.
Phrase the questions clearly and specifically.
Wait Time: Maintain silence and wait at least 5 to 10 seconds for students to respond.
Keep the discussion focused.
Follow up on students' responses and invite elaboration.
Stimulate the discussion with probing questions.
Periodically summarize what has been discussed.
Draw as many students as possible into the discussion.
Do not pose yes/no questions, as they do little to promote thinking or encourage discussion.
Do not pose questions that are vague, ambiguous, or beyond the level of the students.
2011- Tulsa Community College- Engaged Student Programming
Questions of Clarification
 Can you give me an example?
 What is the source of that idea or information?
 Can you summarize what we discussed?
Questions that Probe Assumptions
 What are you assuming?
 How would you support your assumption?
Questions that Probe Reasons and Evidence
 What did you observe in the demonstration/experiment?
 What evidence supports your hypothesis?
Questions that Probe Implications and Consequences
 What effect would that have?
 What could you generalize from this observation?
 What does that remind you of?
 What do you predict will happen next?
2011- Tulsa Community College- Engaged Student Programming
Socratic questioning helps students to think critically by
focusing explicitly on the process of thinking. During
disciplined, carefully structured questioning, students must
slow down and examine their own thinking processes (i.e.,
reflective thinking). Thoughtful, disciplined questioning in the
classroom can achieve the following teaching and learning
Model scientific practices of inquiry
Support active, student-centered learning
Facilitate inquiry-based learning
Help students to construct knowledge
Help students to develop problem-solving skills
Improve long-term retention of knowledge
2011- Tulsa Community College- Engaged Student Programming
2011- Tulsa Community College- Engaged Student Programming