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Socratic method

The Socratic method of inquiry, also called the "elenchos", was introduced by Socrates in order to discover the truth. It was first described by Plato in the Socratic dialogues.

The basic form is a series of questions formulated as tests of logic and fact intended to help a person or group discover the truth about some topic. A skillful teacher can actually teach students to think for themselves using this method. This is the only classic method of teaching that is known to create genuinely autonomous thinkers.

There are some crucial principles to this form of teaching:

It is helpful if the teacher is able to lead a group of students in a discussion. This is not always possible in situations that require the teacher to evaluate students, but it is preferable pedagogically, because it encourages the students to reason for truth rather than from authority.

More loosely, one could label any process of thorough-going questioning as an instance of the "Socratic method'.