I have been posting a #DailySocratic question on Twitter.
While I realize this a bit gimmicky -and I am not into gimmicks- I thought it might be an interesting exercise to not only come up with a Socratic question each day but to see if the questions might elicit a response from those Twitter users who are interested in the Socratic method and what it can do for the mind, body, and soul.
Today’s question was: “Is excellence a moral achievement or a creative accomplishment?”
The Socratic Method
1.) Being a midwife to students’ ideas
Socrates in the Theaetetus speaks of being a “midwife” to the ideas of students. He sees the Socratic teacher as helping the student bring their idea to life and then once it is “birthed,” help them to determine whether the idea can live in the world or not. Socrates makes it clear that his role is not to put ideas into students’ minds but to help students “birth” them.
2.) Art of not having answers/ not seeking recognition
The Socratic educator does not have answers. Socrates was famous for saying: “All I know is that I know nothing.” He did not seek credit for ideas, theories, inventions; his contribution was, again, to aid the “birthing process” in students. In the Socratic dialogues of Plato, readers are treated to a demonstration of how this birthing process works and how it benefits the student.
3.) Connection to parenting
A Socratic parent is someone who sees what their child is trying to say/solve and they help their child express it. In the Jewish tradition, this is seen in the Four Sons at the Passover Seder. The sons are tasked with each asking a question about the history of the seder and the basis of its customs. The youngest son does not yet have the language skills to ask a question entirely on his own. In that instance, the parent helps the child form the question by discovering what it is the child wants to know. This is one example of Socratic parenting.
Thank you to Childreach for sharing my essay on how asking questions can build parent-child and teacher-student relationships: