Socratic Method Research Portal

The Socratic Method Research Portal is the product of over 30 years of research and experimentation with the Socratic method.


Why Use the Socratic Method?

         Education is much more than force feeding information to students and measuring how well they regurgitate that information back to us on command. Education is more than teaching the art of complying with minimum requirements. Living is more than survival. The Socratic method is a powerful tool to inspire students to take a deep interest in their own joyously willful education and thriving in life. The Socratic method, within its influence on the structure of communication, inspires people to embrace the importance of their own thinking and doing as they create a future worth living.

         We cannot be content merely fostering the existence of good students, we desperately need excellent citizens. Character traits such as deep curiosity, fearless inquiry, and the passion for gaining understanding and self improvement are a natural result of the successful use of the Socratic method. These traits are developed as students experience regular exposure to parents/guardians and teacher’s who are able to engage in a Socratic style of discourse. Such conversations help make better citizens. Socratic inquiry focuses vigorously on thinking about what it means to live well. It lavishes attention on important life questions that everybody needs to consider. As such, it is foundational to human moral development. Vlastos and Graham offer an important insight into the value of the Socratic method: "Why rank that method among the great achievements of humanity? Because it makes moral inquiry a common human enterprise, open to everyone. Its practice calls for no adherence to a philosophical system, or mastery of a specialized technique, or acquisition of a technical vocabulary. It calls for common sense and common speech. And this is as it should be, for how a human being should live is everyone’s business."

Gregory Vlastos, & Daniel W. Graham (1971)

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