Report of the project “Training by Prof. Kristof Van Rossem”

It was a training for teachers active in different language sections (NL, FR, EN, GER) and who teach various courses (ethics, philosophy, history, economics, ICT, integrated sciences, etc.)

Prof. Kristof Van Rossem gave a training to teachers on the 9th of March at 4pm in the secondary school. Mr. Van Rossem is a teacher at the KU Leuven and a Belgian expert on Socratic dialogue, one of the methods in Philosophy for Children (P4C) and Philosophizing with Children (PwC). Mr. Van Rossem talked about (a) teaching students to formulate questions, (b) and practical and readily applicable strategies to encourage and facilitate fruitful class discussions.

The eight teachers present at the training went through with Mr. Van Rossem a process of Socratic questioning. This is an exercise where participants formulate short, clear, open, and real questions. Each participant works with a partner who asks further questions in order to spur the other on to further reflection, etc. The training ended with brief evaluation of the entire process.

Mr. Tom Boiy

The workshop was very interesting and a fun activity. It was especially very practical, an activity that can be used in class immediately, especially for the philosophy classes, but not only, because this way of questioning is useful for any other course also.

Ms. Hannah Ehringer

“Thanks for organizing this training. I think it was interesting and offered a new perspective on a possible working method. I liked the practical approach of Mr. Van Rossem and that we had to try the method out ourselves. 

While I enjoyed participating, I had not really realized that this training is specifically useful for philosophy teachers. I feel like I cannot really apply it to my rather content-driven economics classes. This was, however, my own mistake as I misinterpreted the title of the workshop (and I could have known just based on the lecturer, I briefly got to know him for my teacher training, so I actually knew he was a philosopher..).

Nevertheless, I always enjoy new perspectives and to see possibilities and methods outside my own area. For philosophy teachers, I believe, it was relevant and offered a new and fun working method. 

Hope this helps a bit and thanks again for this great initiative!”

Mr. Thibault Dresel

For me the training started quite interesting with the first exercise formulating any kind of question.

As the training went on though I lost interest because I didn’t really understand what our students would gain out of this Socratic way of asking (“question up” and “question down”) in the context of a specific subject.

The method taught by Prof. Van Rossem was probably unfamiliar to the teachers who participated, even to those who already have plenty of experience teaching classes like philosophy and ethics. However, the Socratic method of teaching is useful as it is highly applicable in a wide range of courses.