The Socratic classroom : reflective thinking through collaborative inquiry

Davey Chesters, Sarah (2012) The Socratic classroom : reflective thinking through collaborative inquiry. Sense Publishers, Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

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This book was written to serve two functions. First it is an exploration of what I have called Socratic pedagogy, a collaborative inquiry-based approach to teaching and learning suitable not only to formal educational settings such as the school classroom but to all educational settings. The term is intended to capture a variety of philosophical approaches to classroom practice that could broadly be described Socratic in form. The term ‘philosophy in schools’ is ambiguous and could refer to teaching university style philosophy to high school students or to the teaching of philosophy and logic or critical reasoning in senior years of high school. It is also used to describe the teaching of philosophy in schools generally. In the early and middle phases of schooling the term philosophy for children is often used. But this too is ambiguous as the name was adopted from Matthew Lipman’s Philosophy for Children curriculum that he and his colleagues at the Institute for the Advancement of Philosophy for Children developed. In Britain the term ‘philosophy with children’ is sometimes employed to mark two methods of teaching that have Socratic roots but have distinct differences, namely Philosophy for Children and Socratic Dialogue developed by Leonard Nelson. The use of the term Socratic pedagogy and its companion term Socratic classroom (to refer to the kind of classroom that employs Socratic teaching) avoids the problem of distinguishing between various approaches to philosophical inquiry in the Socratic tradition but also separates it from the ‘study of philosophy’, such as university style philosophy or other approaches which place little or no emphasis on collaborative inquiry based teaching and learning.

The second function builds from the first. It is to develop an effective framework for understanding the relationship between what I call the generative, evaluative and connective aspects of communal dialogue, which I think are necessary to the Socratic notion of inquiry. In doing so it is hoped that this book offers some way to show how philosophy as inquiry can contribute to educational theory and practice, while also demonstrating how it can be an effective way to approach teaching and learning. This has meant striking a balance between speaking to philosophers and to teachers and educators together, with the view that both see the virtues of such a project. In the strictest sense this book is not philosophy of education, insofar as its chief focus is not on the analysis of concepts or formulation of definitions specific to education with the aim of formulating directives that guide educational practice. It relinquishes the role of philosopher as ‘spectator’, to one of philosopher ‘immersed in matter’ – in this case philosophical issues in education, specifically those related to philosophical inquiry, pedagogy and classroom practice. Put another way, it is a book about philosophical education.

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ID Code: 54070
Item Type: Book
Keywords: Socratic pedagogy, Socratic inquiry, Socratic classroom, Philosophical education
ISBN: 9789460918537
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > CURRICULUM AND PEDAGOGY (130200) > Curriculum and Pedagogy Theory and Development (130202)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PHILOSOPHY AND RELIGIOUS STUDIES (220000) > PHILOSOPHY (220300)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Office of Education Research
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Past > Schools > School of Cultural & Language Studies in Education
Deposited On: 11 Oct 2012 05:11
Last Modified: 19 Mar 2016 16:11

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