The Socratic method

The Socratic method is an inquiry in which, by engaging in a dialogue, a teacher and an interlocutor are pushing the discussion further by question and answer. It is a open ended search for knowledge which is intended to identify any possible confusion and errors. The method presupposes knowledge on the part of the participants and the role of the teacher is described, according to Socrates, by the metaphor of a 'midwife.' He is there to help when the ideas are born; he evokes knowledge.
The strengths of the method are seen in the facts that the variety of points of view always helps in refining someone's understanding of a topic. The inquiry helps at identifying errors and weak spots in an understanding. The weaknesses of such a method is that if the 'teacher' is caustic he/she can turn learners off, or even become enemies. A method like this can be applied after the research has been done and different understandings/interpretations of it are analyzed together. In this way critical thinking and reasoning help in finding errors, gaps, and confusion about the subject matter.
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