Too Many Questions!
When I was a little kid, I earned a reputation for asking a lot of questions in school. I could see the look of panic in the teacher’s eyes as I put up my hand – again.
I always had good reasons for my questions…for example:
- I asked questions to be sure I was going to do the assignment correctly
- I am extremely curious by nature
- I thought my dear teacher might be wrong and wanted to clarify what he/she thought
- I enjoyed talking and discussion and just really wanted to know more about whatever we were learning in class…
- It was Math class and I was totally lost !
Questions can be a great learning tool. As the teacher, asking your student the right questions can get them thinking in a critical way about a given subject. Giving questions to your students instead of just answers can draw them deeper into thought and discussion.
We often use this method in our homeschool. When your student is asking questions, you can gain insight into how they are doing in any given course of study. It can also signal a curiosity that you have an opportunity to nurture in that subject area or topic! So questions can also be a great assessment tool for teachers, home educators and parents.
It is actually even a “legit“ form of education! (And one of the oldest) The Socratic Method may sound like something your kids will just use to get you off on a “rabbit trail”, but remember, discussion and logic have value in any classroom or homeschool. It is the type of learning that will stay with them for their lifetime because they thought it through themselves.
It is – very simplified – inquiry and discussion. The asking and answering of questions is intended to stimulate critical thinking and to help us formulate a hypothesis about a given event or idea. Often ideas or thoughts are clarified and beliefs are solidified when students are required to think about and tell someone why they think what they do.
This is especially a good learning method for your auditory learners, but all students benefit from this well-rounded way of teaching. It can be integrated into any of your subjects and it is a FREE supplement to your core curricula!
When our point of view is questioned, we may immediately begin to feel defensive. This method trains your students to listen and respect another person’s views and to communicate with a mutual goal of better understanding the world. It strengthens their focus on logic, and consistency in thought. Putting up a defense of one’s own point of view can also lead to excellent public speaking skills.
In my opinion, using this method also prepares your pre-writing students with the type of higher thinking they will need later to excel in writing essays and researching reports.
Some really smart philosophical and educational types agree with me too, so check them out if you want to know more of how to implement this type of unusual but valuable method into your home education program:
Max Maxwell’s Essay
University of Chicago’s School of Law
The Critical Thinking Community
The list goes on and on, and if you “google” the Socratic method, you could find yourself off on a rabbit trail of internet research.
If you want to learn more, but prefer a book to the internet for researching, I added some suggestions for reading that is on the “lighter side” but still packs some good information. Just scroll down the side bar- by the way, these are all available at Amazon and they are affiliate links.
One thing that I have learned in all my years of teaching is that asking the right questions is more important than having all the “right” answers.
I would love to know what you think about this idea.
Do you think you would ever use the Socratic Method in your classroom, or homeschool?
Why or Why not?
I really do want to know !