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Re: Should a Socratic Dialogue be attempted?

by talexb (Canon)
on Oct 24, 2007 at 17:16 UTC ( #646948=note: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to Should a Socratic Dialogue be attempted?

I'm coming to this one late -- but it's a fascinating question.

The short answer is, give them the answer, but also try to engage them into a discussion about what the answer means, and perhaps also into a meta-discussion about how they should be looking for answers.

Tangent: It reminds me of what someone told me once was the difference between (?:vocational) college and university: In college they teach you how to do something, and in university they teach you how to learn.

One of the things I love about going to Perlmongers meetings is that the level of brain activity in the room is really, really high -- I love it. Yes, someone's giving a talk about something technical, but the questions and comments that fly about are really brilliant -- you can tell there's something really interesting going on, and that's there's lots of brainpower in the room.

I hope that the people that are attracted to programming are the ones who want to tinker, explore, find stuff out and get their task done. And I hope that means they'll want the answer, but they'll also be interested in the background, and also want to know how to ask question in the future. And that means discussion. So that's a vote for the Socratic method.

Software Engineering is not a one-off job -- to me it's a career -- and that means keeping the relationship fresh, and always be learning.

Alex / talexb / Toronto

"Groklaw is the open-source mentality applied to legal research" ~ Linus Torvalds


Comment on Re: Should a Socratic Dialogue be attempted?
Re^2: Should a Socratic Dialogue be attempted?
by dwu (Monk) on Oct 25, 2007 at 04:17 UTC

    The short answer is, give them the answer, but also try to engage them into a discussion about what the answer means, and perhaps also into a meta-discussion about how they should be looking for answers.

    On other fora (not necessarily PM, yay), I've seen people get more annoyed with meta-discussion and think they're even more superior/preachy/etc. than "teacher questions" - although I tend towards "The answer to your question is X; Y reference would have told you the same", and have had decent results.

    One of the things I love about going to Perlmongers meetings

    You lucky sod, to have Perlmongers meetings to go to! :)

    I hope that the people that are attracted to programming are the ones who want to tinker, explore, find stuff out and get their task done. And I hope that means they'll want the answer, but they'll also be interested in the background, and also want to know how to ask question in the future. And that means discussion. So that's a vote for the Socratic method.

    Absolutely concurred - although there are enough people who are concerned firstly with "getting task done" that they'd be annoyed by discussion before answers. Oh well.

    dwu

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