Using the Socratic method in order to improve critical thinking of students | Статья в журнале «Молодой ученый»

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Рубрика: Педагогика

Опубликовано в Молодой учёный №11 (353) март 2021 г.

Дата публикации: 12.03.2021

Статья просмотрена: < 10 раз

Библиографическое описание:

Четин, А. Н. Using the Socratic method in order to improve critical thinking of students / А. Н. Четин, З. А. Мухаммедвалиева. — Текст : непосредственный // Молодой ученый. — 2021. — № 11 (353). — С. 189-192. — URL: (дата обращения: 21.04.2021).

The paper aims to analyze some teaching methods that help to acquire such skills as critical thinking, self-analysis, etc. The method of Socrates is used in many universities. The method of Socrates, or the Socrates dialogue, is when students get involved in a serious discussion on a topic, discuss ideas, challenge each other, to present evidence to prove their claims, in order to do so in a timely manner.Many teachers try such teaching methods when they realize that lectures are no longer attractive to students.

Keywords: Socratic method, innovative technologies, teaching foreign languages, critical thinking, self-analysis

Nowadays the development of Kazakhstani society is characterized by the processes related to the integration of the advanced information technologies in almost all spheres of human activity. These conditions actualize the need to reform domestic education and conduct a range of scientific and pedagogical research on the implementation and use of innovative technologies in the educational processes, including informational ones. The implementation of modern technologies in all sectors pose the education system with the problem of improving the quality of training and education of students.

The needs of our state for highly qualified specialists who are capable to establish business contacts and business cooperation with foreign partners, specialists who can speak a foreign language at a professional level are reflected in the country's universities. A foreign language today is not just a part of the culture of a certain nation, but it is also the key to success, and a chance to build successful career for students. The fundamental language training in higher education contributes achieving a high level of foreign language proficiency. In most universities of the country students learn at least two foreign languages. For example, the International Kazakh-Turkish University named by A.Yassawi the language process runs by two languages, English and Turkish. Moreover, there is a Foundation faculty where Kazakhstani students learn English and Turkish while foreign students learn Kazakh and Russian languages during one academic year [1].

It is important for the teacher to know the latest methods of teaching a foreign language, special teaching techniques and techniques in order to optimally choose a particular teaching method in accordance with the level of knowledge, needs and interests of students. After all teaching methods are not what simple “algorithmized units”, the rational and motivational usage at the foreign language lessons requires a creative approach from the teacher, because “pedagogy is a science and art at the same time, therefore, the approach to the choice of teaching methods should be based on the creativity of the teacher ".

At the present stage of the development of science in Kazakhstan, it can be definitely said that the times when the ability to translate the adapted, unauthentic texts from a foreign language and vice versa have already been a sufficient proof of mastering the language have passed. Today, the educational process is being reformed at the universities in Kazakhstan in accordance with European Standarts of Education such as informatization of the educational space, integration processes of the modern education, the establishment of higher educational institutions cooperation with European educational institutions in the field of educational and scientific activities, student exchange programmes, the possibility of obtaining a second higher education and training master's programmes abroad [2]. The educational teaching methods in foreign languages ​​should also change in the context of the reform of higher education.

Language education itself is also gradually being modernized through the introduction of a modular-rating system for teaching foreign languages, interdisciplinary integration, democratization and economization of education bring to life innovations that make up teaching foreign languages. All this poses new requirements for teaching and teaching the foreign languages at universities. The goal of teaching a foreign language at a higher school at the present stage is to master students' communicative competencies which allow them to realize their knowledge, skills and abilities to solve specific communicative problems in real life situations. A foreign language acts as a type of communication, communication with representatives of other nations, so that in education the cultural or intercultural approach to teaching continues to develop in the framework of the «dialogue of cultures», concept with the aim of forming polymer literacy of student.

In a modern university there should not be a place for such processes as memorization, thoughtless memorization of texts in a foreign language, which have no practical value for the future life of students. Students should be prepared on the basis of high-quality modern authentic educational material for the conscious use of a foreign language in later life and work [3]. Indeed, a good knowledge of foreign languages ​​now and will continue to remain in the future one of the leading requirements of employers. In this regard, it is the universities that are responsible for providing the students with a quality complex of language knowledge, skills.

These responsibilities require the educational institution to systematically create conditions for the advanced training of its pedagogical staff and to provide the institution with the appropriate material and technical base. High-quality language training of students is impossible without the use of modern educational technologies. Modern technologies in education are professionally-oriented teaching of a foreign language, employment in training, application of information and telecommunication technologies, work with educational computer programs in foreign languages ​​(multimedia system), distance technologies in teaching foreign languages, creating presentations in the PowerPoint program, the Internet resources, teaching a foreign language in a computer environment (forums, blogs, e-mail), the latest test technologies. The main methods of teaching foreign languages ​​are communicative and constructive methods in the development of methodological science.

Old-fashioned teaching methods that require an updated composition of teaching technology, as in the power of advanced types of digital technology, with every day teachers are hard to interest students. Old traditional methods are not effective, and do not help to acquire such skills as critical thinking, self-analysis, etc. The method of Socrates is used in many universities. The method of Socrates, or the Socrates dialogue, is when students get involved in a serious discussion on a topic, discuss ideas, challenge each other, to present evidence to prove their claims, in order to do so in a timely manner [4]. Many teachers try such teaching methods when they realize that lectures are no longer attractive to students.

What is the Socrates method? The famous quote from the famous Greek thinker Socrates: «Let us consider together the question, my friend, and if you can contradict what I say, do it, and I will be convinced». This is an ancient form of discourse «come and take», as it is communicated, based on the persuasion of Socrates, that the lecture was not an effective method of teaching all students. Socrates's method requires a coherent argumentative dialogue between people, asking and answering questions that stimulate critical thinking, and reveal the underlying assumptions. Students prepare by carefully studying the text or topic.

On the day of the Socrates seminar, they listen to their classmates, disparage what they hear, make an argument based on what they have read and listened to, and at the same time critically think not only about their opinion, but also about their opinion. It encourages listening, thinking, reading, speaking critically and experiencing a sense of wonder in terms of world cognition.

Using the method of Socrates in teaching, asking students questions, but not answers, we simply impose on students the reasoning and logical interrelationships between their existing knowledge and experience. Although the skills of critical thinking can not be taught directly, with the help of the method of Socrates it is possible to practice and develop, and encourage students to improve this skill.

How to conduct a Socrates seminar, where to start? For the day before the seminar, students should give a few questions, and do brainstorming. Then, to distribute handouts and forms to them, where they should additionally think about the questions that they will ask. Unfortunately, the content of the issue under discussion, students must read two articles or watch a video on a related topic.

Depending on the number of students, the group is divided into two groups. For example, if 22–25 students are divided into two, and each speaker will have 1–2 observers. Students should be guided by the principles of conversation, for example:

1) to call another by name

2) to participate, relying on conversations

3) do not dominate the scene

4) wait patiently for their turn.

5) respect each other

It is important to remind students that there are no right or wrong answers, and that it is not trivial, students should focus on concepts and principles, and not on subjective opinions. The role of the teacher is to silently observe the discussion with the sides of both circles, and to make a note of who participates, who refers to the text and / or occupation in the classroom as evidence. Well structured and open questions are the key to a successful discussion. If the questions will be factual, such as, «What is the Sun?" or «from what is the water?" and so on, that seminar can end not time and start.

Importantly, as well as tracking the discussion in which direction the conversation is conducted, and how it is related to the previous comments. It is necessary to accept the fact that sometimes it is possible to resonate silently among students, so they should give time for reflection and deduction of facts.

As soon as the speakers begin to discuss the questions, analyze, observers follow the speakers, fill in the form in which there are questions, how many times he was silent or actively participated in the discussion, what ideas were brightly voiced. The most important thing is that they should not be involved in the discussion.

Thus, the Socrates method of training requires a teacher of time and patience, respectively, the process can take a fairly long time. Each round is broken down into:

• Spend 1.5 minutes on the speaker so that he can turn to his colleagues and discuss issues and ideas that will be discussed.

− 15 minutes for discussion.

− The observer has 2 minutes to answer questions that will arise after the discussion.

− Speakers for 1.5 minutes discuss with the observer what he received, and what he needs to work on.

Each round lasts 21 minutes, and with 10 minutes for initial instructions and settings, and another 15 minutes for final reflection, the whole process can be done in about 90 minutes.

At the end of the seminar, the speakers distribute observation sheets, and after the acquaintance, the teacher gathers back.

To conclude, we can say that the teaching method acts as a “tool for the teacher’s activities to fulfill the leadership function — training”. The implementation of the training method is carried out through the use of a number of teaching methods, various approaches and working techniques. «Learning techniques — a set of specific learning situations that contribute to the achievement of the intermediate (auxiliary) goal of a particular method». Unfortunately, in teaching practice, the foreign language teachers often apply time-tested standard teaching methods. Sometimes the process of teaching a language, regrettably, continues to be a “somewhat modernized version” of the grammar-translation method. The requirements for a foreign language lesson change over time, the latest teaching methods are being developed.


  1. (03.03.2021)
  2. Zhumagulov, B (2012). Educational policy achievements in Kazakhstan. Retrieved from
  3. Boghossian, P., Socratic Pedagogy, Critical thinking and Inmate Education. Journal of Correctional Education, 57(1), 42–63, 2006
  4. Birnbacher, D. and Krohn, D., Socratic Dialogue and Self-directed
  5. Learning. In R. Saran, and B. Neisser (Eds.), Enquiring minds:
  6. Socratic dialogue in education. (pp. 9–15). Stoke-on-Trent, UK:
  7. Trentham Books, 2004

Ключевые слова

teaching foreign languages, Innovative technologies, critical thinking, Socratic method, self-analysis
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