Socratic dialogue as a teaching and research method for co-creativity?

Keith Stenning, Alexander Schmoelz, Heather Wren, Elias Stouraitis, Theodore Scaltsas, Konstantinos Alexopoulos, Amelie Aichhorn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We sketch a theory of creativity which centres on the framing of activity by repetitive situations and actions, and sees creativity as divergences from these routines which is thereby framed against them. Without a repetitive frame creativity is impossible. Mere repetition is not creative. Creativity disrupts a frame.
Socratic dialogue is an ancient technique of engaging a student in a dialogue by asking non-leading questions, aimed at revealing to the student how much knowledge he or she already has on some topic: Socrates' demonstration to the slave-boy (and the audience) that the boy already knows geometry (without any schooling) is the founding example.
This paper outlines the technique as a method of both evaluating and teaching creative thinking which reveals that it dovetails with this conception of creativity itself. As an evaluative technique, Socratic dialogue aims to elicit information concerning reasoning processes and experiences. As a teaching technique, Socratic dialogue aims to get students to internalise the public procedure of Socratic dialogue, and to adopt it across the range of domains they meet. This approach is illustrated by the experiences of the teaching intervention teams in the C2Learn project using digital games to provide occasions for co-creativity.
We are aiming to illustrate that internalising the Socratic kind of reflective self-questioning is intimately related to the view of creativity as the reframing of routine. Therefore, we have qualitatively analysed primary and secondary school pilots in Greece, Austria and the United Kingdom. The illustrations of facilitated Socratic Dialogues with children and young people have been derived from the analysis of Socratic Dialogues involving students respectively.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)154-168
Number of pages13
JournalDigital Culture and Education
Issue number2
Early online date1 Jul 2016
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Jul 2016


  • Creativity
  • Socratic Dialogue
  • Education and training


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    Scaltsas, D.

    EU government bodies


    Project: Research

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