ASKING THE RIGHT KINDS OF QUESTIONS
Inspector Clouseau asks, “Does your dog bite?”
The hotel manager answers, “No.”
As Clouseau reaches down to pet the beautiful animal, he is viciously attacked. He turns to the man and with some agitation says, “I thought you said your dog doesn’t bite!”
To which the hotel manager responds, “That’s not my dog.”
And the moral of the story is . . .
Good Socratic Seminar questions are:
- Clearly Stated
Good discussion questions are open-ended and worthy of multiple responses. There is not “an” answer, meaning one answer to it. These are not concrete or basic understanding level questions. This type of question gets your group members thinking and generates good, hearty discussion in your seminar.
Therefore, these questions will need some justification. You will need to be ready to defend your claim with evidence from the text. Remember that your question may generate counterclaims from your group, so your response to it must be well crafted.
Good discussion questions are relevant/useful to your audience. They reflect member interest and invite them to think. Consider developing questions about characterization, conflict, theme, the use of literary device, author’s purpose, or text structure.
Good discussion questions are clearly stated. You can’t be lazy about creating a discussion question. If a question is not working, revise it.