I have recently been introduced to the concept of socratic questions, as a means of exploring ideas in depth. The concept of socratic questioning is to allow students to examine their ideas logically and/or to challenge their understanding further, linked to the validity of their arguments.

Socratic questioning is broken up into six categories, which is dependent on what the person asking the question is wanting from the response. These are; clarification, probing assumptions, probing reasons and evidence, viewpoints and perspectives, implications and consequences and questions about the question.

The use of such a questioning technique can be used in a number of ways. So far I have used socratic questions as pre-selected questions for direct questioning in lessons, question stickers to challenge written work as a means of DIRT (see link below) . And I have even provided my students with a socratic question handout, similar to the image below, in order for students to question each other when completing group discussions and debates.


Socratic questions have a number of advantages, to name a few:

  • they can be used with students of all abilities (although some differentiation may be required from the teacher),
  • they are adaptable for any topic or subject,
  • they promote critical thinking,
  • they promote student independence,
  • and finally, they provide a higher-level of thinking.

Although the use of socratic questions may take some time to practice and embed in your classroom, I have seen many positive outcomes.


Access the Socratic question handout and stickers…. HERE!