Analyzing “Bud, Not Buddy”

The Socratic method is a teaching technique in which students answer a series of questions posed by the teacher. These questions stimulate critical thinking about a topic and draw out the ideas behind the students’ answers. Unlike many traditional teaching techniques in which students are told what to think, the Socratic method helps students make their own conclusion about complex issues and use reason and logic to think through big ideas.

In Dr. Lee’s social studies and English language arts classes, the students are utilizing the Socratic Method to discuss everything from the impact of historical events to the themes of novels. For example, the students recently started reading a historical fiction novel called “Bud, Not Buddy” by Christopher Paul Curtis. The story revolves around an orphaned boy named Bud Caldwell who lives in Michigan during the height of the Great Depression. Bud struggles against racism, poverty, and mistreatment at the hands of people who should be taking care of him, but he perseveres through it all and emerges triumphant over his difficult circumstances, eventually asking people to call him “Bud” instead of “Buddy” because he sees himself as a beautiful flower bud that is opening up to the world.

During their Socratic seminar for “Bud, Not Buddy”, the students were asked a series of questions to help them start a discussion about the novel’s themes. “What does Bud’s new name represent for him?” and “Why are different opportunities opening up for Bud?” are examples of some of the questions that the students were asked to explore. By discussing these questions, the students engaged in an intellectually stimulating conversation, and learned to express their opinions politely if they disagreed with each other’s statements.