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On Day 2 of the “Creating an Engaging Online Classroom” workshop with John D. Clift, we discussed how to create student engagement through discussion, and also how the Socratic method can play a huge part in these engaging conversations.

Since I have taught a Critical Thinking course at the University of Phoenix, the Socratic method was a very interesting part of Day 2 for me. While I had studied this method in my college years, it is always good to refresh my memory on these concepts so that I can use them anew with my students.

I think one of the most interesting parts of Day 2 was the discussion of how the Socratic method can be used for different purposes, simply by phrasing the questions in certain ways. The key purposes identified were:

  • Questioning Goals and Purposes
  • Questioning Questions
  • Questioning Supporting Information
  • Questioning Inferences and Conclusions
  • Questioning Concepts and Ideas
  • Questioning Assumptions
  • Questioning Implications and Consequences
  • Questioning Viewpoints and Perspective
  • Questioning Clarity

This break down really helped deepen my understanding of how questions within the Socratic method can be used to focus students in on a specific issue in their own writing, such as in the “Questioning Supporting Information.” Essentially, this can be accomplished by asking students, for instance, “How do you know this information is accurate? On what information are you basing this comment?” These types of questions push a student to question their information sources and think about what forms their opinions and comments, rather than just continuing to speak from a place of bias or misinformation.

This day also discussed how a facilitator should focus discussion by demonstrating their own knowledge, aligning the discussion to the course’s learning outcomes, pushing students to challenge their own thoughts, and adding additional information for students to help further their learning.

Great day overall! I am looking forward to Day 3!

For a recap of Day 1, click here.

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