education philosopher

The Teacher’s Inclination to Lead and Maybe Cutting That Out

Posted in Uncategorized by KevinCK on October 5, 2015

“Can I tell you something and have you promise not to get mad?” asked a student. This was after the Socratic inner circle got done their discussion and this student, a member of the outer circle, was critiquing the inner circle’s dialogue.

“Sure.”

“Okay. Well, I think you interjected probably a bit too much in this dialogue.”

As the professor, I am always part of the inner circle’s Socratic dialogues. The discussion is mostly theirs, but from time to time, I like to come into it, moving drifting conversations back on track, tying things back to the reading, and sometimes asking new questions if I think the discussion is hitting a wall.

And she was right. I did interject too much. I even remember at one point inadvertently cutting off a student who was about to say something in response to another student.

This is, in some sense, how teachers are. When we are in more “traditional” classrooms and we ask a question to which an answer or raised hand doesn’t come immediately, awkwardness sets in. Even if 10 seconds go by, we often feel like we, as teachers, have a duty to fill the silence.  (more…)