Socrates’ Ancient Teaching MethodAkram Baddoura
Does Socrates’ Ancient Method of Teaching still work in our times?
The Socratic Method is over 2400 years old. It is a “student-centered approach that challenges learners to develop their critical thinking skills and engage in analytic discussion.” It is the opposite to lecturing which is believed by many, to be an ineffective way of teaching.
SERC, The Science Education Resource Center at Carleton College, presented an interesting article about ways to use the Socratic Method in the Classroom in which a teacher role is clearly defined as follows:
“During Socratic questioning, the teacher is a model of critical thinking who respects students’ viewpoints, probes their understanding, and shows genuine interest in their thinking. The teacher poses questions that are more meaningful than those a novice of a given topic might develop on his or her own.”
If the Socratic method is desirable and recommended when teaching any kind of subject matter, then there is no doubt that it is a successful and efficient method when we teach mathematics. The current Mathematics course that we are teaching in FND is called ALEKS course. It is self-taught course where students are supposed to work independently under the supervision of the teacher who is rather a facilitator more than a teacher or a lecturer. Adopting a Socratic approach while teaching ALEKS, has helped our students to adapt to independent learning, and to acquire their own critical thinking skills. It is an approach that has provided them with an “intrinsic” reward. Socrates method has also helped those students in a class that is sometimes labelled as a “passive” class. It generated a more active and livelier class.
“Classifying Parallelograms” has always been one of the topics that most of the students find difficult to deal with. Teachers can make it easier, by leading students to the right answers through asking questions, discussing students’ own responses and making common conclusions.