Socratic teaching: Beyond the paper chase

Teaching Philosophy 31 (2):119-140 (2008)
Abstract
Socratic teaching is popularly understood as aggressively questioning randomly called-on students, but this is a model that many educators have moved away from. The focus has shifted to eliciting and facilitating critical dialogue among willing participants. I would argue that this helpful shift still misses an essential element of Socratic teaching that can be gleaned from some of Plato’s early dialogues. The most crucial dimension of Socrates’ pedagogy is the function of the educator as an exemplar. I develop an account of what being an exemplar amounts to, discuss how examples of this activity are present in early Platonic dialogues, and then explain how the insights gleaned from such an examination can animate Socratic pedagogy in the classroom
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