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Re: Should a Socratic Dialogue be attempted?

by neniro (Priest)
on Oct 20, 2007 at 09:54 UTC ( #646162=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to Should a Socratic Dialogue be attempted?

My question is: Are we helping people like this by providing the answer, or should we attempt to teach them to think like a programmer by asking a series of questions, leading the original questioner to find the solution on his own?

Working myself as a teacher, I hate to say this, but quite often you will just anoy people by asking "teacher-questions".

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Re^2: Should a Socratic Dialogue be attempted?
by bart (Canon) on Oct 21, 2007 at 08:49 UTC
    I am one of those people who are extremely annoyed by "teacher questions". So I won't ever do it myself.

    The approach I take as a "teacher", both here and in other forums, is first to look at how far off they are from a working solution. If I find they're pretty close, then I try to correct their problems, explaining why their solution doesn't work, and why mine does. It's my feeling that if they can learn just about the tiny details of what is wrong with their programs, then there's no need for them to come up with it for themselves. If there's too much wrong with it, then just this one teaching moment won't suffice.

    What I don't do is just offer a totally unrelated solution. I might offer one alternative solution in addition to fixing the problems in what they came up with.

    If they're too far off, the kind of people the OP was asking about in the root of this thread, then I just don't bother teaching. I might bother offering a working solution, but without bothering to explain much. In that case it's intended as much (or even more) as a solution to other people with the same kind of problem.

Re^2: Should a Socratic Dialogue be attempted?
by apl (Monsignor) on Oct 20, 2007 at 13:34 UTC
    Too true, sadly. But my wife says that we have to grab the "Teachable moment" whenever we can!.
Re^2: Should a Socratic Dialogue be attempted?
by Cop on Oct 20, 2007 at 15:48 UTC

    So annoy them, what's the big deal? You do what's right in principle. I don't think that you were thinking of XP, but if you were, that's really sad for this site.

      In certain circumstances I look at downticks as social disapproval. I've only been on this site for about 8 months and am still tentative as to what proper behaviour is. I wouldn't want someone walking back and forth past my desk in the Cubicle Farm I work in, yelling into his cell phone. Similarly, I don't want to do the equivalent here.

      There are people who respond to questions here who have the gift of being able to teach. I'm not one of them.

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