The Socratic dialogue is a particular way of developing children’s, as well as adults’, thinking skills through cooperative dialogue where significant human ideas and values are discussed. By participating in Socratic seminars regularly every other week, preschool children and older students develop their thinking skills.
The seminars address literature and art work, with questions such as these: is Pippi Longstocking is a good friend, is Jack is stupid or smart when he sells his mother’s cow for some beans or are we born good or evil. In the beginning the students have difficulty expressing their thoughts, but with time their ability to express themselves and to examine ideas critically and logically develops.
The study included seven groups of children, five to sixteen years old. The groups were filmed during three years of philosophizing in the classroom and the films were analyzed. The interaction in the classroom was positively influenced, according to Ann S Pihlgren. The teacher dominated less, more students spoke and the students gradually took over the responsibilities of the teacher to promote exploration in the dialogue. The ability to use the Socratic seminar is learned by students and teachers through practice and by testing the rules of the seminar. The students construct a supportive group culture through their silent interaction, where gestures, glances, and body language are used to show not only support or sympathy for each other, but also cooperation with each other when someone attempts to disturb or to provoke the dialogue. The teacher role changes to one of support, ensuring that the analysis is fruitful and that the dialogue is respectful.
Socratic methods have developed independently in various countries. They all describe a set of methodological steps to attain similar objectives. An opening question is answered by all participants and followed by cooperative, critical analysis. Finally, the new ideas are connected to the everyday life experience of the participants.
It seems as if this ritualized structure and the nurturing culture of the seminar provide a safe circle, helping the participants to try new, bold ideas that they might otherwise not have tested, Ann S Pihlgren says. By cooperating when examining the ideas they also seem to learn a way to address problems on their own without teacher intervention.
To work with methods connected to the ancient philosopher Socrates may seem out-of-date in a modern school, but that is absolutely not the case, Ann S Pihlgren states.
The Socratic seminars have been seen as a complement to traditional classroom teaching for hundreds of years. But it is not easy to learn how to stage them to get positive effects. It is especially hard for teachers, who often fall back to their traditional, controlling “teacher” roles. The dissertation offers excellent tools for teachers who want to develop students’ thinking and to foster cooperative group dialogue.
The name of the dissertation: Socrates in the Classroom. Rationales and Effects of Philosophizing with Children. The dissertation could be downloaded as pdf at http://www.diva-portal.org/su/theses/abstract.xsql?dbid=7392 .Additional facts
Plato was Socrates disciple and a prominent figure within the idealistic tradition of Western philosophy. Socrates worked through what he called maieutics, midwifery. Through elenchus (Greek for inquiring, refuting), exploring questioning the questioner will help the participants to give birth to their thoughts.
Similar methods was developed and practiced in the beginning of 20th century by the Swedish popular educators Hans Larsson and Oscar Olsson, in Germany in the 1920s by Leonard Nelson and in the USA during the later 20th century by Mortimer J Adler.
In Sweden the dialogues were introduced by Lars Lindström. The seminars are practiced as a pedagogical method at the Freinet Academy in Norrtälje, Sweden www.mimer.org.
The students in the study are 5 to 16 years old (grade 9).
Jonas Åblad | alfa
Starting school boosts development
11.05.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung
New Master’s programme: University of Kaiserslautern educates experts in quantum technology
15.03.2017 | Technische Universität Kaiserslautern
Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.
Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....
Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.
The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....
An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.
We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...
Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.
Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...
An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...
24.05.2017 | Event News
23.05.2017 | Event News
22.05.2017 | Event News
26.05.2017 | Life Sciences
26.05.2017 | Life Sciences
26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy