The Socratic Teaching Method

Posted August 18th, 2012 by admin and filed in Uncategorized

The Socratic teaching method is the common form of teaching used in law schools. Prior to a student’s entrance into law school, he may not have much experience with the Socratic method. Due to the enormous class size, professors depend on the Socratic method to provide active learning and participation amongst around one hundred students.

The name Socratic teaching method finds its origin with the classic Greek scholar Socrates. It is used to stimulate critical thinking where there often is no right or wrong answer. The discussion actually is debate of sorts.

The Socratic Teaching Method in Law Classes

In a law school setting, professors will call on students who don’t necessarily volunteer. The student will then be required to summarize the details of a case assigned to the class. The student then must take a position either for or against the case. After doing so, the professor then asks numerous questions of the student, probing him to defend his position.

At first, this teaching method can be intimidating. But speaking in public comprises a large part of a lawyer’s job. The Socratic method allows for ample practice in forming a thorough and effective argument. It also fosters the development of analytical and reasoning skills. The professors use it to give their students a greater understanding of the intricacies of the law.

The law must not just be memorize. A lawyer must skillfully apply it to a variety of situations. The Socratic teaching method offers ample opportunities to do this in the classroom before a lawyer must do this in the courtroom.


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