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Why Use Socratic Questioning?

Socratic questioning helps students to think critically by focusing explicitly on the process of thinking. During disciplined, carefully structured questioning, students must slow down and examine their own thinking processes (i.e., reflective thinking). Thoughtful, disciplined questioning in the classroom can achieve the following teaching and learning goals:

  • Model scientific practices of inquiry
  • Support active, student-centered learning
  • Facilitate inquiry-based learning
  • Help students to construct knowledge
  • Help students to develop problem-solving skills
  • Improve long-term retention of knowledge (c.f., Tools for Teaching by Barbara Davis)