Best Practice

Teaching practice: Socratic seminars

Our teaching practice series continues, as does our focus on dialogic questioning. Expert Matt Bromley discusses the teacher’s role in using the six Socratic questions and looks at Socratic seminars in lessons

Editor's Note: This article is part of a series of 10 best practice pieces to have published in 2017. Access them here:

“To find yourself, think for yourself.” Socrates

In last week’s article, I explained that dialogic questions are those which encourage discussion, and which are open, philosophical, and challenging (Teaching practice: Dialogic questioning, SecEd, February 2017).

One widely used dialogic technique is Socratic questioning, which can be used to: control a discussion, explore more complex ideas, uncover assumptions, analyse concepts and ideas, and distinguish between what students know and do not know.

Socratic questioning performs two functions in the classroom: first, it probes students’ thinking and helps them begin to distinguish what they know or understand from what they do not know or understand, and second, it fosters students’ abilities to ask Socratic questions and helps them to use these tools in everyday life (in questioning themselves and others).

Register now, read forever

Thank you for visiting SecEd and reading some of our content for professionals in secondary education. Register now for free to get unlimited access to all content.

What's included:

  • Unlimited access to news, best practice articles and podcast

  • New content and e-bulletins delivered straight to your inbox every Monday and Thursday


Already have an account? Sign in here