Did the response apply the following Socratic Approach, using Steps 1 through 4?

Assignment:

In considering how personality develops, the impact of the child’s environment, as well as the child’s innate characteristics, must be taken into consideration. Assess the nature versus nurture controversy. Assess your views on how each affects a child’s personality and moral development. Provide supporting evidence or reasoning. Which theoretical perspective on personality and moral development most closely represents your view?

Short response required for each question, in text APA citations required for each response (no assigned resource provided)

Did the response apply the following Socratic Approach, using Steps 1 through 4?

Question 1 of 4

Step 1: Identify the elements of the problem, issue, or question. Did the response adequately include this step? Yes or No? If no, what was missing?

Question 2 of 4

Step 2: Analyze/ define/ frame the problem, issue, or question. Did the response adequately include this step? Yes or No? If no, what was missing?

Question 3 of 4

Step 3: Consider solutions, responses, or answers. Did the response adequately include this step? Yes or No? If no, what was missing?

Question 4 of 4

Step 4: Choose a solution, response, or answer. Did the response adequately include this step? Yes or No? If no, what was missing?

Sample Response:

In the context of the nature versus nurture controversy, nature means one’s genetic inheritance of traits such as intelligence, physical characteristics, and personality tendencies (Vander Zanden, Crandell, & Crandell, 2009). Nurture means the influence of environment, including parenting, schooling, physical environment, culture, and other factors (Vander Zanden et al., 2009). In the past, social scientists and others argued which factor—nature or nurture —was responsible in a given situation, but it is more common today to ask either how much is due to nature versus nurture, or how they interact (Vander Zanden et al., 2009). Vander Zanden et al. (2009) therefore characterize the current nature versus nurture controversy as asking either how or how much, rather than which.

While there are many theories that address the nature-nurture controversy, behaviorism most closely represents my view. Most of the behaviors needed to succeed in life are within the capabilities of most people, but some people’s environments make success unlikely for them. If a person is raised in an environment that does not support educational activities, that person is unlikely to become a physicist, even if he or she was born with the intelligence traits of an Einstein. Similarly, those raised in a violent environment are more likely to be violent, such as those who were abused as children may subsequently abuse their own children.

Reference: Vander Zanden, J. W., Crandell, T. L., & Crandell, C. H. (2009). Human development (9th ed.). Boston: McGraw-Hill Higher Education

Learn to Apply a Socratic Approach to Problem Solving

Applying a Socratic approach to problem solving, as shown in the steps in the table below, will help you identify gaps and improve your thinking when writing a course paper or completing a course project. You may also use the questions or tactics in the table to spark new insights when responding to discussion topics or to your fellow learners’ discussion posts.

Steps

Things you may do in this step

Questions you may ask in this step (Paul & Elder (2006); Wertheim (n.d.))

Step 1: Identify the elements of the problem, issue, or question.

This may include:

Break the problem down into pieces, elements, or components.

Notice how the pieces or components are related to each other.

Look for missing information or gaps in what you know.

Make note of the information that you do not have or cannot find, or that is unavailable.

Separate symptoms from underlying causes.

Avoid judgments and premature solutions.

Gather information.

Questions you may ask:

What problem am I trying to solve? What are the key issues in this problem?

What facts do I have? (A fact is “something that actually exists; reality; truth; a truth known by actual experience or observation; something known to be true.”)

What evidence do I have? (Evidence is “that which tends to prove or disprove something; grounds for belief; proof.”)

Which pieces of information that I have are opinions? (Opinion is “a belief or judgment that rests on grounds insufficient to produce complete certainty; a personal view, attitude, or appraisal.”)

Which pieces of information that I have are inferences? (To infer is “to derive by reasoning; conclude or judge from premises or evidence.”)

Are the inferences well or poorly reasoned? Can alternative inferences be drawn from the same facts or observations?

Which pieces of the information I have gathered are theories? (A theory is “a more or less verified or established explanation accounting for known facts or phenomena.”)

What do I not know?

What information is missing?

Is it possible to get the information that I do not have? What are the possible sources of information?

Socratic Approach to Problem Solving

What must remain unknown for now?

Step 2: Analyze/ define/ frame the problem, issue, or question.

This may include:

Gather information that you need to know more about the context surrounding this problem.

Decide which pieces of information are important.

Identify your point of view.

Consider how your cultural values shape your perception of the problem.

Evaluate conflicting evidence.

Separate symptoms from underlying causes.

Avoid value judgments.

Avoid premature solutions.

Analyze arguments.

Identify the things you do not understand.

Identify the complexities of the problem.

Define a research problem.

Questions you may ask:

What are my goals? What am I trying to accomplish?

Which pieces of information that I have are the most important in relationship to this problem?

Is the information or evidence presented relevant to the problem?

Are there other ways to interpret the information?

How does the information relate to what I already know?

How does the information relate to my personal and professional experiences? (How does it support or match my experiences? How does it contradict or differ from my experiences?)

What information opposes my position?

What theories in my discipline shed light on this problem?

What are the values, beliefs, and assumptions that are implied in the problem statement? (Assumptions are the things that are taken for granted, and they are usually unstated.)

What are my own values and beliefs in relationship to this problem?

Am I ignoring evidence that does not fit with my beliefs?

Am I failing to consider or investigate evidence that might contradict the theory that I support?

What are my assumptions in relationship to this problem?

What support or evidence do I have to back up these assumptions?

What are the values, beliefs, and assumptions of other writers (sources of information, references) in



Socratic Approach to Problem Solving

relationship to this problem?

How does my culture or my world view shape my approach to this problem?

How would someone from another culture or world view approach this problem?

What are all of the possible causes of this problem?

What blind spots are keeping me from seeing additional causes?

What evidence supports my assertions? How reliable is the evidence?

What evidence supports the assertions of others? How reliable is the evidence?

What other issues are related to this problem?

Am I considering the complexities of this problem?

How important is the problem relative to other problems?

Step 3: Consider solutions, responses, or answers.

This may include:

Consider the evidence for and against your theory or viewpoint.

Consider the evidence for and against other theories or viewpoints.

Analyze arguments.

Imagine the implications of each possible solution.

Formulate research questions or hypotheses.

Questions you may ask:

What theories in the discipline are related to these solutions?

What are all of the possible views that experts may hold on this problem?

Which views seem best supported by evidence?

What are all of the possible solutions to this problem?

What are the resources?

What are the constraints?

What blind spots are keeping me from seeing additional solutions?

What are the implications of these solutions?

What might be the consequences of these solutions? What world view does each of these solutions imply?



Socratic Approach to Problem Solving

Step 4: Choose a solution, response, or answer.

This may include:

Evaluate your choice from alternative viewpoints (put yourself in someone else’s shoes).

Question your choice.

Consider the problems that may result from your choice

Choose research questions or hypotheses.

Questions you may ask:

What theories in the discipline provide support for this solution?

How did I reach this conclusion?

Is this solution aligned with my goals?

Does this solution address the most critical aspects of the problem?

Why do I prefer this solution/response/answer?

How is this solution/response/answer supported by the data, facts, and evidence?

How is this solution/response/answer supported by or dependent upon opinions or inferences?

What are the costs of this solution?

What are the possible risks of this solution?

How likely are those risks?

What are the possible benefits of this solution?

How likely are those benefits?

How do my own biases affect my choice?

What alternative biases might be held by others, and how would that affect their choices?

What assumptions does my choice imply? What values does my choice imply? What goals does my choice imply?

Step 5: Implement your choice.

This may include:

Develop an action plan.

Test research questions or hypotheses.

Questions you may ask:

Is the implementation supported by theory?

Is the implementation supported by the facts?

Is the implementation consistent with my purpose?



Socratic Approach to Problem Solving

Step 6: Evaluate the results.

This may include:

Analyze the results of your actions.

Analyze research data and formulate new questions based on the results.

Questions you may ask:

Did I make progress toward solving the problem? What did I learn?

How do the results relate to existing theories?

How do the results shed light on the existing body of evidence?

What new questions are raised by the results?

References

Paul, R., & Elder., L. (2006) The miniature guide to critical thinking concepts & tools (4th ed.). Dillon Beach, CA: The Foundation for Critical Thinking.

Wertheim, E. G. (n.d.). A model for case analysis and problem solving. College of Business Administration, Northeastern University. Retrieved August 7, 2007, from http://web.cba.neu.edu/~ewertheim/introd/cases.htm

Definitions are from Dictionary.com.

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