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Teaching Philosophy

Volume 17, Issue 4, December 1994

Joseph Biel
Pages 345-350

Teaching in the Shadow of Socrates

The author suggests that in order to incite classroom discussion and philosophical engagement, educators should not model their teaching styles after the Socratic method of question and answer. Rather instructors should emphasize the value of philosophy to students in general as the guiding logic of an introductory course in philosophy. The Socratic method often overshadows alternative teaching methods and does not promote classroom discussion. Although the figure of Socrates and his lessons should not be completely abandoned or replaced, instructors should problematize the manner in which Socrates frames the task of teaching. An alternative teaching method should consist of getting students to see the value of philosophy and its applicability to their lives. The author suggests classical rhetorical theories as a starting point for developing new models for classroom discourse.

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