Fourth Estate or News Media

Subject: Social studies
Summary: Students use Socratic Maieutic (or Socratic Questioning) to better understand the role of journalism in the society.
Activity length: Duration is approximately 45 minutes.
Objectives:
  • Students will know the importance of journalism in our society. Students will question the belief or
    statements presented by the teacher and fellow students.
  • Students learn to use the method of Socratic Questioning. Students learn to critically question and
    analyze material.
Preparation:
  • Teacher prepares a presentation about journalism in the society.
  • Teacher creates an overview about the buildup of a view that uses arguments and an view that does not
    use arguments.
  • Teacher prepares a list of statements and beliefs concerning public opinion.
Description:

Parts 1: Teacher gives an overview on importance of journalism in the society. Teacher presents a logically reasoned view about a certain aspect (e.g. why I choose politicians who value green politics). Afterward teacher presents a logically easily dismissible view (e.g. I do not trust politicians who do not have a beard). The teacher can also be substituted by a student who has previously prepared to presents the viewpoints.

Part 2: Students, taking the role of a journalist, prepare questions in 8 minutes to dismiss the view presented by the teacher, following the guidelines found in additional notes.

Part 3: Students present the questions to the teacher, who tries to defend its views. Afterwards students give an evaluation of reasoning of the questions and the arguments presented by the teacher, firstly in groups of 3 (for 5 minutes), then together with the teacher.

Assessment:

Students vote for the best question asked (or which created the biggest confusion for the teacher to give a well-argued response). This can be either marked or just brought out as a good example of the art of asking the right questions.

Additional notes:

Good material for the questioning map is available in the book Thinker’s Guide to the Art of Socratic Questioning by Dr. Richard Paul and Dr. Linda Elder.