Enhancing Critical Awareness through Socratic Pedagogy

Seher Balbay
Middle East Technical University
Keywords: Socratic pedagogy, critical awareness, Spoken English, diasadvantaged groups, cooperative learning


Socratic pedagogy is an approach to teaching through questioning mainstream practices without being judgmental in an effort to understand, empathize and reach more objective conclusions about reality. This study explores the effects of its use on student teachers’ critical awareness skills during their participation in a Spoken English course given at a Foreign Language Education Department in Turkey. This qualitative study was conducted with freshman students and the intervention lasted one academic year. Individual and focus group interviews, and observation notes based on student performance in class were used as data collection tools. The results clearly indicate the development of students’ critical awareness of political, economic and culture-related issues regarding language teaching settings, and they generated deeper insight to multiple aspects of teaching English. Students displayed an understanding of the consequences of political decisions as well as the economic dimensions of educational commitments, and expressed a positive attitude towards cultural diversity after a yearlong Socratic pedagogy intervention.

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