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Forum Home > General Discussion > I Think I Am a Socratic Teacher....All the Time!!

Manuela Ippolito
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Posts: 21

"When are we going on the fieldtrip, again?"

T: "When did I say we were going on the fieldtrip?" 

T: "If we discussed that it was during ________ week and we had _________ on that day, then when WOULD it be?"


     If we discussed an event, book, skill, strategy...then if a student asks me a question about it,and they want a simple answer....NEVER.


     I don't know why I do it, exactly. I do know that it feels like an intrinsic desire for me to want the student to THINK things through.


     I believe it began with my daughter. I have video of her,around 2 1/2, spelling words with magnetic letters onto a board. I would urge "spell caaaat"...and she would say "is it A?"...and I would say "what do you think it sounds like...aaaaaaa?"...then she would pick her A with confidence. After I taught her the sounds, I never told her how to spell a word...in fact now, at 15, I often ask her how to spell!! lol  :roll:


     I refuse, like a restricted voracious dog, to TELL a student how to spell a word..unless, of course, I am introducing a "spelling" word, pattern or word part. I always say "what sounds do you hear when you say it?"


     This can get frustrating for kids. They may even think I am mean, or strict.


     I can live with that.


     In fact, I have had (in the past---within 15 yrs) students complain to their parents that "the teacher does not LET us ask questions".


     I did not understand why they said that, until very recently. When I teach, or discuss, new learning strategies or material, at the end, after I ask some to reiterate what they learned..I ask if there are any questions, and to "ask now if you are confused, because you are about to go to your desk and work".


     I also follow the "ask 3 before me" rule. So, they can ask questions...during the lesson.

Then, I may refer them to a chart, student, or notes in their journal on the topic.


(If I KNOW that they have the information somewhere...that is when I push. If they were absent, or have a learning disability, or something ...I help them moreso.)


4th graders, at least in my school, are not used to pushing their thinking. They must have had everything handed to them before my class...at home and in previous years.


     In the beginning of the year, every year, when I pose the simple question,  "what do you think about that?", they look at me like I sprouted horns and 4 eyeballs.

     They are not used to it.


     I tell my students often, "You should be sweating trying to figure it out. If you aren't, then you gave up, and are not working hard enough". This is to stop them from relying on their neighbor every time they have a question.


     In the long run, I think it is an effective way to get students to think. As long as the intention is pure.


      How do you handle questions from your students? I would enjoy hearing other views.

Manuela Ippolito 


April 14, 2013 at 10:40 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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