As you'll notice, its a pretty simple process. With that said, this is a simple process that one can often get wrong. Here are a few things I like to be careful about:
Prepare, prepare, prepareSocratic discussion starts from Knowing your audiences responses. Prepare, prepare, prepare! Think of all possible answers that your learners can come up with. The more branches you can identify for your discussion, the better prepared you will be.
Accept InputOften you'll hear responses which are not exactly the one's you're looking for. Our tendency could be to just say "No!" to these responses. Instead, I like to use open ended, generative statements such as "What do you think...", "Hmmm... that's an interesting thought. With that said..." or, "That's a good thought, let's come back to that in sometime. How would you...". I like to use what I call the "Reflect/ Deflect Technique".
REFLECT back to the questioner what you thought was the point she was making. ("If I understand correctly, you’re asking..."). Depending on how the questioner "reformulates" their point, DEFLECT it by either:
- Asking the group : ‘How does the rest of the group feel?’;‘Who else has faced a similar problem?’
- OR ricochet to a particular participant: "Adam, given your experience how do you feel about this?"
- OR Reverse it to the person making the point: "You've definitely got a great point there. Tell us more about it"