Thursday, November 22, 2018

Socratic Questioning

Courtesy: Intel Teach Program

The Socratic approach to questioning is based on the practice of disciplined, thoughtful dialogue. Socrates, the early Greek philosopher/teacher, believed that disciplined practice of thoughtful questioning enabled the student to examine ideas logically and to determine the validity of those ideas. In this technique, the teacher professes ignorance of the topic in order to engage in dialogue with the students. With this “acting dumb,” the student develops the fullest possible knowledge about the topic. 

It is said Socratic Questions induce “critical thinking”.

A good Socratic question is open-ended with more than one "right" answer. It is designed to get the student to think. Take book learning and apply it to real life problems. Evaluate an idea against the student's own experiences, thoughts and logic. Students should compare, synthesize and evaluate their own ideas. They should form rules, principles, models and concepts based upon an introspective analysis of their own thoughts. Project and speculate about casualty. Predict future problems and other implications. Search for eternal knowledge, learned generalizations and universal definitions. 

Socratic questions rarely evoke factual information. The intent is to bring information, which has already been processed into the student's awareness and helps them evaluate it. Avoid questions that have a correct answer. Your questions should promote imagination, creativity and divergent thought. If a student answers, "I don't know," rephrase the question or provide an example. Repeating the question or dropping the question does not facilitate learning. 

Good questions are the core of effective teaching. They are the essence of good teaching. Lecture features teacher domination. Socratic discussion involves students as equal participants. 

Socratic questions challenge the students to think critically about their own behavior and beliefs. Socratic questions should recognize and revere the limits of human knowledge. Questioning helps students understand basic ideas and values. This will assist them in making the wisest possible choices about the conduct of their lives.  

Socrates went to actual people with strong opinions and examined them carefully about what they thought they knew. The unexamined life is not worth living. Begin class by having each student state their point of view in writing. This gives them a vested interest in the topic. 

“Socratic questioning is at the heart of critical thinking and a number of homework problems draw from R.W. Paul's six types of Socratic questions:”

1. Questions for clarification:     
Why do you say that?
How does this relate to our discussion?
"Are you going to include diffusion in your mole balance equations?"

2. Questions that probe assumptions:    
What could we assume instead?
How can you verify or disapprove that assumption?
"Why are neglecting radial diffusion and including only axial diffusion?"

3. Questions that probe reasons and evidence:
What would be an example?
What is....analogous to?
What do you think causes to happen...? Why:?
"Do you think that diffusion is responsible for the lower conversion?"

4. Questions about Viewpoints and Perspectives:
What would be an alternative?
What is another way to look at it?
Would you explain why it is necessary or beneficial, and who benefits?
Why is the best?
What are the strengths and weaknesses of...?
How are...and ...similar?
What is a counterargument for...?
"With all the bends in the pipe, from an industrial/practical standpoint, do you think diffusion will affect the conversion?"

5. Questions that probe implications and consequences:
What generalizations can you make?
What are the consequences of that assumption?
What are you implying?
How does...affect...?
How does...tie in with what we learned before?
"How would our results be affected if neglected diffusion?"

6. Questions about the question:
What was the point of this question?
Why do you think I asked this question?
What does...mean?
How does...apply to everyday life?
"Why do you think diffusion is important?" 

Starting point is this.

To understand the Element of Thought -- what it is that the speaker is trying to convery.

Three Types:

1. Spontaneous
2. Exploratory
3. Focused

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Commitment based Management

Organizations can choose to manage by power (command and control), by process or by promise (commitments). While there is a place for each of these approaches, the first two may actually impede innovation and engagement. The alternative is commitment-based management. 

Donald Sull,
Professor of Management Practice in Strategic and International Management
Faculty Director of Executive Education, London Business School

Thursday, November 01, 2018

Sprint Retrospectives

Gems from Fifth Dimension

The Myth of Management Team

Most managers find collective inquiry inherently threatening. School trains us never to admit that we do not know the answer, and most corporations reinforce that lesson by rewarding the people who excel in advocating their views, not inquiring into complex issues. (When was the last time someone was rewarded in your organization for raising difficult questions about the company's current policies rather than solving urgent problems?) Even if we feel uncertain or ignorant, we learn to protect ourselves from the pain of appearing uncertain or ignorant. That very process blocks out any new understandings which might threaten us. The consequence is what Argyris calls "skilled incompetence"—teams full of people who are incredibly proficient at keeping themselves from learning.
Delusion of learning from Experience

We learn best from experience but we never directly experience the consequences of many of our most important decisions. The most critical decisions made in organizations have system-wide consequences that stretch over years or decades.

When our actions have consequences beyond our learning horizon, it becomes impossible to learn from direct experience.

Laws of fifth Discipline

  • Today's problems come from yesterday's solution
  • Solutions that merely shift problems from one part of a system to another often go undetected because, those who "solved" the first problem are different from those who inherit the new problem
  • The harder you push, the harder the system pushes back
  • Behavior grows better before it grows worse
  • The cure can be worse than the disease

Pushing harder and harder on familiar solutions, while fundamental problems persist or worsen, is a reliable indicator of non-systemic thinking—what we often call the "what we need here is a bigger hammer" syndrome.

We learn to live with uncertainty, because no matter how smart or successful you are, a fundamental uncertainty will always be present in your life. 

Cure can be worse than the disease: Sometimes the easy or familiar solution is not only ineffective; sometimes it is addictive and dangerous. Alcoholism, for instance, may start as simple social drinking—a solution to the problem of low self-esteem or work-related stress. Gradually, the cure becomes worse than the disease; among its other problems it makes self-esteem and stress even worse than they were to begin with.

Delusion of Learning - Peter Senge