Sophist or Socratic Teaching Methods in Fostering Learning in US Graduate Education
This paper provides an overview of some of the important characteristics of both the Socratic and Sophist traditions and discusses their impact and relation to graduate education in the United States. In the discussion, it is important to note that there are inherent conflicts that stem from the foundational principles of each of these teaching/learning traditions. For example, the Sophist and Socratic traditions emphasize different approaches to education, and the selection of an appropriate approach is contingent upon myriad factors including subject matter, learning outcomes, learning environment, time parameters, and so on. Furedy and Furedy (1986) suggested that Sophistic influences have been mainly implicit and manifest themselves in the shift towards instrumentalism and affective learning as well as in the choice of curricula and curricula development whereas a major contribution of the Socratic tradition to education is a disposition for disciplined inquiry, based on a readiness to question all assumptions. Therefore, it is necessary to understand the pros and cons of both methodologies in fostering learning.
Keywords: Pedagogy, Learning, Teaching Methodologies
Dr. Katherine Pang
Faculty Member, College of Arts and Sciences, University of Texas at Tyler