The Socratic Method as an Approach to Learning and Its Benefits
The Socratic Learning Method (SLM) is a constructivist learning approach consisting of four key steps: eliciting relevant preconceptions, clarifying preconceptions, testing one’s own hypotheses or encountered propositions, and deciding whether to accept the hypotheses or propositions. The Socratic Learning Method is particularly useful when one has to evaluate a proposition contradictory to one originally held belief, or when one has to generate and evaluate one’s own hypothesis in the face of new information. Connecting the steps of the Socratic Learning Method and studies in cognitive science, developmental psychology, and education, this thesis argues that the Socratic Learning Method enhances students’ learning as it reduces the impact of misconception, aids students in organizing knowledge, cultivates higher order thinking skills, and helps students to monitor their own learning. While the Socratic Learning Method functions as a teaching method when teachers first introduce it to students in the classroom, the thesis emphasizes its use as an approach to learning that individuals must cultivate, with practice, into a vigorous thinking habit.