A Socratic method is a form of teaching technique that involves a challenging dialogue between two or more parties. The method is based on asking and answering questions, thereby teaching learners how to think critically. The technique is important in getting out the conjectures one may have regarding a given topic or idea. In the discussion, one party defends their point while others listen and ask questions that are likely to weaken the defendant’s point (Coffey 1). The method is named after Socrates, a Greek philosopher who was tried and executed for allegedly corrupting the youth.
Socrates used to question his students in the search of the truth. He always wanted to get to the bottom of each person or student’s view by continually asking questions until a person contradicts him/herself and thus proving erroneous belief in the initial thought. According to Coffey, the Socratic Method is mainly used to search for truths that shape certain beliefs, scrutinize them to determine their consistency (1). The method is used in teaching where an instructor poses a question, but does not give an answer. The instructor is an equal participant in the debate and continuously asks questions.
The method has several advantages, including fostering critical thinking which plays a significant role in enhancing students’ memory. Secondly, it proves to students that their beliefs can be questioned and criticized. Through this, the students are able to question, extend an issue, and understand it clearly. Thirdly, the method reveals the complexity of statements that may seem simple. Lastly, it helps students to focus on articulating their values while their ideas and values are under scrutiny (Coffey 1). Therefore, the method is very crucial in teaching, although it is time-consuming.
A lecture usually involves oral presentations from one speaker. The method is widely used in schools to teach students or make presentations on a given subject. The method is one of the oldest and commonly used in teaching, especially in religious setups and institutions of higher learning (CIDDE 1). The lecturer will stand in front of his/her audience and read or recite the contents of the lecture.
Lecturing has widely been critiqued as a way of teaching since it does not allow the participants to actively contribute in the class. However, the method allows teachers to deliver information to a large audience, thus making it cheaper and less time-consuming. In this method, the lecturer recites the information, and the students take notes without any active participation (CIDDE 1). Usually, there are no questions asked, hence it is a one-way communication, making learning passive.
The lecture method allows the teacher to cover a large portion of the topic in a one-time class period and deliver it to a large audience. The method does not require any practical or use of equipment. Additionally, it plays a significant role in enhancing students listening skills and help students learn and understand languages (CIDDE 1). The lecturer has to logically arrange the materials to be used to present it orally, thus ensuring the quality of the information being delivered.
Comparing the two methods as a mode teaching, the Socratic approach is more effective as the students are able to discuss one issue at a time, unlike the lecture where the information is from a single source. The lecture method is said to be a passive mode of teaching since it is only the instructor who speaks and others just listen and at times students may lose concentration and miss out on important points. On the other hand, the Socratic Method allows each student and the instructors to actively participate in any debate thus ensuring maximum concentration. However, the Socratic Method is time-consuming since it deals with one issue for a time, unlike lecture where large information is delivered in a single lesson.