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ERIC Number: EJ832681
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 2
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0894-3907
Critical Thinking: The Art of Socratic Questioning, Part III
Paul, Richard; Elder, Linda
Journal of Developmental Education, v31 n3 p34-35 Spr 2008
In the last two articles, the authors introduced the concept of Socratic questioning and its relationship to critical thinking. They illuminated how understanding the concepts embedded in critical thinking naturally generates questions. For example, a thinker who understands the elements of thought asks questions which probe the parts of thinking. A thinker who understands the role of intellectual standards in disciplined reasoning asks questions that target the assessment of thinking. A thinker who understands the need for students to connect learning to their lived experiences gives numerous examples of questions that can be used everyday to foster student engagement. In this article, the authors focus on the formal mechanics of Socratic questioning. They distinguish three general categories of Socratic questioning: (1) spontaneous; (2) exploratory; and (3) focused. Each of these modes of questioning represents orientations one can adopt in cultivating student thinking. All three require skill in questioning. All three require the instructor to pick from among a wide variety of intellectual moves. All three require judgment in determining when to ask which kind of question. Of course, at any given time, there is no one best question, just better or worse ones.
National Center for Developmental Education. Appalachian State University, P.O. Box 32098, Boone, NC 28608-2098. Tel: 828-262-3057; Fax: 828-262-7183; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A