Implementing the Socratic Method in Classrooms

Implementing the Socratic Method in Classrooms

  • Arya Vishwaroop
    Arya Vishwaroop

Introduction

Over the years, teachers have been implementing different teaching methods to improve the learning outcomes of their students. These experiments and the incorporation of various methodologies have enhanced the learning experience for the learners. The Socratic method is one such methodology that can be implemented in the classroom to ensure learner participation in the learning process. Read on to understand how the Socratic method can be implemented in classrooms

What is the Socratic method?

Mariam Webster dictionary defines the Socratic method as follows, โ€œthe method of inquiry and instruction employed by Socrates especially as represented in the dialogues of Plato and consisting of a series of questionings the object of which is to elicit a clear and consistent expression of something supposed to be implicitly known by all rational beingsโ€. The Socratic method was introduced by the famous Greek philosopher and it is based on the principle of asking questions to the students to enhance their knowledge of a subject or topic.

In the Socratic method, learning happens through productive dialogues between the learner and the educator. Here, educators mostly act as a facilitator rather than a teacher, and the learner is actively involved in the process. The Socratic method is primarily employed to teach law students and it is considered a serious process that requires a lot of research, study, and thinking from the side of the learner. Now that you may have understood what the Socratic method is, let us look at its benefits.

Benefits of the Socratic Method

Even though the Socratic method is generally used in the realm of law, it can be integrated into other schools as well. It will have a lingering effect on students as they will be able to comprehend the concepts thoroughly. Let us look at some key benefits of the Socratic method.

Develops Critical Thinking Skills

One of the key factors that emphasize the importance of the Socratic method is that it develops critical thinking skills among students. Critical thinking skills allow students to analyze a learning concept beyond the fundamentals and help them to think outside the box. It enhances the learning process and understanding of different perspectives on a topic. You can pose a variety of questions to the students for which they will have to do an in-depth study to give the teacher thoughtful answers. As teachers, you can give enough time to the students to research the topics and face the questions that you may ask during the Socratic seminar/ discussion which would help them to put the topic under extensive analysis.

Encourages Close Reading

Students will have to prepare well in advance to answer the questions posed by you. Therefore, they need to engage in close reading. Close reading would help them to get an understanding of the topics and also helps students to assume the questions that they would have to answer in a Socratic discussion. Through close reading, students will be able to get the hang of the topic they will be dealing with, and hence, they will be able to perform well in the discussion.

Develops Active Listening Skills

This teaching methodology nurtures the active listening skills of the students as they will have to pay attention to the questions that are being asked in the class. They would have to come up with counter-arguments for the arguments that their fellow students would be presenting. In order to present their arguments effectively, the students would have to listen and should pay attention to the whole discussion.

Improves the Analytical Skills

Since in a Socratic discussion, students will be analyzing a topic from various perspectives, it helps in the development of analytical skills of the students. They will be able to analyze every situation in the light of different possibilities. This equips them with the skills to face any challenges that come their way. They will develop the skills to do a detailed analysis of various situations.

Builds Public Speaking Skills

In this type of discussion, the students will be answering questions or presenting their arguments in front of the class. Hence, they need to articulate their words in a way that is convincing to the teachers and their peers. In this way, students gain the confidence to speak in front of many people and thereby build their public speaking skills.

How to Successfully Implement Socrates Method

Introduce the Socrates Method

Before implementing the methodology in the classroom, students ought to understand what it is all about. Let your students understand how the discussion works and how they are supposed to work for performing well in the discussion.

Give Time to Prepare

Inform your students in advance about the Socrates discussion that you are planning to organize so that it will become an enriching experience for them rather than a terrifying one. When they prepare better, they will be able to express their points in an intelligible way.

Allow to Present Evidence

You may ask your students to prepare notes based on their research, in this way, they will be able to use those notes while answering the questions put forth by you. You can allow them to use their textbooks and notes to support the arguments they are forwarding while answering the questions.

Divide into Groups

You can divide the students into different groups to facilitate learning through the Socratic method. When students are divided into groups, a group of students will be able to listen to the points put forth by the other group and bring their counter-points to the front accordingly.

Formulate Creative Questions

Your questions play an important role in increasing the efficiency of the method in a classroom. Make sure your questions are good enough and creative enough to evoke interest and creative thought among the students. You can prepare some open-ended questions to spark a productive discussion in the classroom.

Conclusion

Teachers can use different strategies to improve the quality of pedagogy in the classroom. This enhances the capabilities of the students and catalyzes their progress in their academic endeavors. In addition to improving student outcomes, the Socratic method speeds up the holistic development of students.

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