Asking students a series of purposeful questions and follow-up questions supercharges learning. It engages them and drives acquisition of language and complex ideas like nothing else. Plato modeled this technique brilliantly in Socrates’ dialogues. Special Person student interviews are similar to Socratic teaching. It is asking questions with a point in mind. Socratic questioning can be used as an expansion and refinement of the TPRS idea of circling to engage and guide students in meaningful dialogue as they acquire language.

Socratic teaching is a respected method and has been used for millennia. Socratic seminars are a good way of organizing instruction, and can be helpful, but why not learn Socratic teaching from Socrates himself?

Socratic teaching guides student learning with calculated questions. It is expanding the student’s mind through query and discussion rather than by explaining or direct instruction. Socratic teaching allows the student to discover the answers instead of having every detail spelled out — and it works remarkably well with world language instruction.

Take aways:

  1. Engage students with purposeful questions; asking rather than telling.
  2. The person asking the questions is in control of the conversation.
  3. Act as if you are reminding them of something they already know.

Read the complete article about Socratic questioning in language class here.

You can use Bloom’s Taxonomy to guide your questions