Socrates Is The Most Influential Teacher In History

Socrates inspires me to not just teach but to educate by forming studies and conversation amongst students, by asking and answering questions to motivate critical thinking and to bring about new ideas. He taught us that feeding students endless content to remember is similar to repeatedly stepping on the brakes in a vehicle that is, unfortunately, already at rest. Instead, students need questions to turn on their intellectual engines and they must themselves generate questions from our questions to get their thinking to go somewhere. Thinking is of no use unless it goes somewhere, and again, the questions we ask determine where our thinking goes. It is only when our thinking goes somewhere that we learn anything of value to us.

The phrase Socratic questioning is used to describe a kind of questioning in which an original question is responded to as though it were an answer. This in turn forces the first questioner to reformulate a new question in light of the progress of the discourse. The Socratic method examines universal, frequently held facts that form opinion, and analyzes them to define their dependability with other theories. This method uses a sequence of questions that test logic and fact to help a person or group discover their beliefs about some topic, exploring the definitions, looking to show the basic traits shared by various particular instances. Aristotle attributed to Socrates the discovery of the method of definition and induction, which he regarded as the essence of the scientific method.

In the second half of the 5th century BC, sophists were teachers who specialized in using the tools of philosophy and rhetoric to entertain or impress or persuade an audience to accept the speaker’s point of view. Socrates encouraged an alternative method of teaching which came to be called the Socratic. Socrates began to engage in such discussions with his fellow Athenians after his friend from youth, Chaerephon, visited the Oracle of Delphi, which established that no man in Greece was wiser than Socrates. Socrates saw this as a contradiction, and began using the Socratic method to answer his conundrum.

Deep questions drive our thought underneath the surface of things, force us to deal with complexity. Questions of purpose force us to define our task. Questions of information force us to look at our sources of information as well as at the quality of our information. Questions of interpretation force us to examine how we are organizing or giving meaning to information and to consider alternative ways of giving meaning. Questions of assumption force us to examine what we are taking for granted. Questions of implication force us to follow out where our thinking is going. Questions of point of view force us to examine our point of view and to consider other relevant points of view. Questions of relevance force us to discriminate what does and what does not bear on a question. Questions of accuracy force us to evaluate and test for truth and correctness. Questions of precision force us to give details and be specific. Questions of consistency force us to examine our thinking for contradictions. Questions of logic force us to consider how we are putting the whole of our thought together, to make sure that it all adds up and makes sense within a reasonable system of some kind.

Socrates takes teaching to a deeper level. I plan to be an educator; someone who helps you obtain knowledge within yourself. I want to help my students become better learners, better thinkers. Socrates is the most influential teacher in history.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. jesicahmitchell1
    Oct 22, 2013 @ 21:01:12

    Your blog post about Socrates is insightful. I don’t know much about him but im learning more from you and my ethics class this semester. How has he influenced your life? I know you wrote about being an educator and helping your students discover their knowledge from within. Have you read his work before? Socrates in one of the most brilliant philosophers in ancient times and we still can learn from him today. The questions portion of Socrates is a very good addition into your post. People go through that a lot and we have to stop and think sometimes. Everybody is always moving fast. Thank you for sharing!


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