Critical Thinking and the Socratic Method

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Many employers today complain about the good looking academic resumes but the rather puny abilities for critical thinking coming out of higher learning.  Maybe its lazy or untrained teachers used to keeping their lives simple and easy. Or maybe it’s a lost skill. As the name implies, Socratic teaching and methods have been around since…….Socrates (469 – 399 BC).

Good teachers use Socratic questioning when testing the students understanding of complex issues as well as a method of teaching that focuses on a deep understanding and the ability to transfer those key concepts to other situations.

For example, a facilitator is presenting a new project and wants to see if the team members understand the basic premise of the project. By asking them to create an example of how they would apply the premise of the project to a different set of circumstances will help reveal the level of understanding.

“Nancy, how would you go about using the same design we are using in this project to help the sales department?” Or, “how can you use the same approach to improve your production?” Both questions are testing for a deep understanding of underlying principles and theory.

 

Additional Reading

Genchi Genbutsu: Where Theory Meets Pavement

Thinking Allowed: Is Iacocca’s Iconic Quote Still Pertinent Today?

 

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