socrates powerpoint

By: Scott Fenwick
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
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
How is the Socratic Method
• 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
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
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
• The knowledge gained is anticipated by the
• “Baby Steps”
• Constructivist
* Think about these four elements and see if you can
identify them during the skit.
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
• 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
Google image search
Wikipedia pages: Socrates, Socratic Method
 All
information used is properly cited
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