Socratic Methodology in Corinthians?
Posted by nhilton on September 26, 2007
Scripture is an example of optimal teaching. Paul was an exemplary teacher. Paul, as well as many other scriptural authors, used what I’m terming the Socratic Method as he taught. An example of this is found in 1 Corinthians 12:14-31 as Paul teaches the Corinthians about the diversity of spiritual gifts. Many other examples of this methodology are found throughout the LDS cannon of scripture, including Korihor, the Antichrist. :)
As I approach teaching Paul’s letters in Gospel Doctrine class, I’m immediately struck by my own inadequacy as a teacher in comparison to the skill of the author who’s work I’m attempting to “teach.” Ironic, indeed. However, it is exactly Paul’s teaching expertise that I would like to model after so that gospel doctrine is understood and “owned” by the students—Me, being the primary student!
Paul was no dummy. His education qualified him in unique and powerful ways to be an instrument in the Lord’s hands. (Is there any better use for education or any better motivation for attaining it?) Some of Paul’s unique qualifications include:
- speaking, reading and writing of several languages
- in-depth knowledge of the Old Testament
- cultural education and experience
- educated in philosophy
- educated in oratory
Can you think of any more?
If I’m to be an effective teacher, using Paul as my model, I must reach for a similar education. On Sunday I’m starting with the Socratic Method. Why? According to one researcher, using the Socratic Method enables the student to draw truth from within themselves, as seen in this experiment in teaching binary arithmetic to third graders. This method seems compatible for teaching the gospel and it clearly was since Paul and other gospel writers have done the same.
This post is intended to get you thinking about teaching methods modeled in the scriptures and how we might, as co-teachers of the scriptures, utilize these models. Additionally, it is intended to motivate us to actually use these tried and true methods in our own teaching efforts whether it’s in a gospel classroom or a man-on-the-street missionary experience. Have you ever employed these teaching methods? If so, you’re invited to share your experience here.