Socratic Discussion


The premise of socratic discussions is to be inclusive of all and grounded in a common text. Socrates famed for asking questions is leveraged into a discussion strategy that encourages all participants to ask one another questions and relate it to a common text or media with the goal of clarifying and deepening one’s understanding. It is not a debate or argument; instead as one person recently commented it is a scientific discussion.

As a teacher I would use this technique once a quarter or so to help students tackle a text that on their own might be too challenging or important to deepen students’ learning. Building in an opportunity to re-cap the article before jumping in to the socratic discussion is helpful. I like to assign short passages and ask each of the participants to summarize their section. Alternatively you could do some kind of matching activity where you have the big ideas pre-identified and the students have to match those with the text.

Here is a great resource that provides a bit more instruction and a video.

Tools to help teach it: Simple slide deck