The Socratic method: adult education theories

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 4
  • Abstract:

    English: Postgraduate students need to explore their research question(s) from different angles, take ownership of the research process, and develop their own scholarly voice. Supervisors are often ill-equipped to guide students in a strategic and learner-centred manner. The Socratic method draws on strategies to elicit learning through uncertainty in the question-and-answer technique employed. Based on a qualitative study, various adult education theories are used to formulate a rationale for the application of the Socratic method as a tool to facilitate learning in the supervisor-student relationship. Theoretical perspectives which emerged as themes through this study include experiential learning, ontological coaching and empowerment. This article provides a conceptual framework for postgraduate supervisors which could act as a guide to enhance their supervisory practice and facilitate independent student learning.