Teaching and learning Gem #23 – Socratic questions

This week’s Friday Gem comes from James Porter, Experientia Scholarship lead in the Upper Junior School and English specialist.


Experientia Scholarship forms part of the weekly timetable for all girls in Years 3-6. It is an ambitious programme which considers the contentious issues that affect our daily lives and introduces pupils to the concept of critical thinking and the art of Socratic discussion.

James’ WimTeach article brilliantly shows the importance of asking questions. He writes that “open-ended questions [are vital] as part of the Experientia programme, so that arguments are dismantled into their constituent parts which can then be evaluated, and the implications considered.”

He uses the table below, which is from ‘The Thinker’s Guide to Socratic Questioning’, to show the types of questions that are integral to the Experientia ethos.

The Thinker’s Guide to Socratic Questioning – Thinker’s Guide Library, Richard Paul (author), Linda Elder (author)
Paperback (01 Jan 2016)