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Volume 26Number 1 publication date:Jun. 2013
The Application of the Socratic Method in Teaching General Education Law Courses
    Author:Ling-Shuang Shih
Research Note

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 The Socratic Method emphasizes that students obtain knowledge and test their beliefs in the process of engaging in dialogues. As general education emphasizes critical thinking, this method has much applied value, specifically in teaching law courses in general education programs. In light of different perspectives, the Socratic Method could be classified into three models: the test model, the Meno model, and the Theaetetus model. Besides, it could be classified into two approaches: the non-autocratic approach and the authoritarian approach. The Socratic Method is often adopted in the teaching at law schools in the United States. In their different experiences of studying and teaching, scholars’ views over the use of the Socratic Method in teaching the law is controversial. The approvers consider that the method is effective in teaching basic legal principles. The dissenters consider that the classroom experience is humiliating to all students. However, most scholars would agree that it depends on how well teachers implement the Socratic Method so that students may benefit from the process. Comparatively, there is also possibility that these models or approaches of the Socratic Method might be properly applied in the teaching of different law courses. In United States, the Meno model is mainly applied. Besides, for students’ understanding the application of law, teachers may adopt the authoritarian approach. For students to understand the amending of law, teachers may use the non-autocratic approach. In this article, the author introduced and analyzed his teaching of law using the Socratic Method and demonstrated how useful it has been for educating students to have deliberation ability.



Keywords: general education of law, law teaching, Socratic method, Socratic teaching
 

 

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