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SOCRATES, THE SOCRATIC METHOD AND THE HISTORICAL/EDUCATIONAL FOUNDATIONS OF INSTRUCTIONAL CONVERSATIONS By: Scott Fenwick.

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Presentation on theme: "SOCRATES, THE SOCRATIC METHOD AND THE HISTORICAL/EDUCATIONAL FOUNDATIONS OF INSTRUCTIONAL CONVERSATIONS By: Scott Fenwick."— Presentation transcript:

1 SOCRATES, THE SOCRATIC METHOD AND THE HISTORICAL/EDUCATIONAL FOUNDATIONS OF INSTRUCTIONAL CONVERSATIONS By: Scott Fenwick

2 Who was Socrates? What is his Legacy? An enigmatic classical Greek philosopher (469 B.C. – 399 B.C.) The founder of modern Western Philosophy His logic helped give birth to the Scientific Method A champion of oral modes of communication Influential students: Plato (founded the Academy) Aristotle (founded the Lyceum) A literary figure, reliable information about him comes from Plato’s writings rather than traditional history A social and moral critic, his attempts to improve Athenians’ sense of justice may have led to his death

3 What is the Socratic Method? Arguably the most important contribution to Western thought A type of pedagogy that seeks to encourage fundamental insight into issues and ideas via questioning Designed to encourage self-examination: “The highest form of human excellence is to question oneself and others” Argument, cross-examining, testing, scrutinizing “Life without examination [dialogue] is not worth living.” Two styles: Classic (two-way freestyle) & Modern (constructive) - the Classic style is more true to Socrates himself - the Modern style may be Plato improving upon Socrates

4 How is the Socratic Method Implemented? Teacher’s temperament is vital: a respectful, non-confrontational “devil’s advocate” Questioning process challenges assumptions and moves students toward greater specificity Proposition of hypothetical situations Students come to knowledge in their own through carefully worded questions that spur a particular train of thought For the modern method to work, students are expected to be prepared for class in advance Pedagogically, the modern method encourages students to reason critically rather than appeal to authority

5 How is the Socratic Method Implemented? - Mechanics for Teachers *Start with a “big” conclusion or question and work backwards Teacher and students agree on the topic of instruction Students agree to attempt to answer teacher’s questions Teacher and students are willing to accept any correctly reasoned answer – the reasoning process is more important than facts or beliefs Teacher’s questions expose errors in students’ reasoning or beliefs, then formulate questions that the students cannot answer except by a correct reasoning process. NOTE: the teacher has prior knowledge about classical errors in reasoning. When the teacher makes an error of logic or fact, it is acceptable for a student to draw attention to the error. NOTE: this must be made explicit!

6 How is the Socratic Method Implemented? - - A dramatic interpretation Plato’s Slave of Meno: An Example of the Modern Socratic Method A person is led to knowledge through inductive questioning The knowledge gained is anticipated by the questioner “Baby Steps” Constructivist * Think about these four elements and see if you can identify them during the skit.

7 Why is the Socratic Method Important to Teachers? We teachers are descendents of Socrates and his students Historically and Philosophically, the Socratic Method constitutes the foundation of what we know to be Instructional Conversations Facilitates exploration of issues and ideas while developing and elevating students’ critical thinking skills Help our students to feel confident about questioning anything – including their own ideas and beliefs If we as teachers can place our students in a situation where they are questioned in a way that is friendly, respectful and useful, we will empower them to experience the value of good questions

8 Sources:   Google image search  Wikipedia pages: Socrates, Socratic Method  All information used is properly cited


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