The Socratic Method in Law School And the Evolution of Same.
The Socratic method is one significant new element you will experience in law school.
Generally, first year law students often suffer feelings of confusion and elevated levels of stress due to their inexperience in dealing with the significant differences between the law school classroom and the undergraduate classroom.
Law school academic requirements can be extremely intimidating; mandatory curves/mandatory D’s and F’s, but nothing is generally more intimidating to first year law students than the Socratic Method. It is said that the average person’s number one fear is public speaking (ahead of death), and Socratic questioning does not only employ (forcibly) public speaking, but can often appear (depending on the professor) to border on interrogation.
Socratic teaching is a worrisome concern for most new law school students because it is very scary to answer questions in front of a large group of their peers. As time goes on however you will become quite adept at handling yourself verbally on your feet, and eventually your confidence will grow in handling any Socratic seminar.
In furtherance of that end, know that the Socratic teaching method was originally incorporated into the law school curriculum in the 1800s at Harvard Law, when law professors attempted to take a more scientific approach to the study of law by assigning cases and conducting a classroom focused on analyzing those cases. Like all forms of education Socratic seminar has grown and evolved, and that evolution is ongoing today.
Different professors will conduct their classes using various forms of Socratic questioning. Some law professors may choose to conduct their classroom in line with a more Traditional Socratic Seminar, and other professors may opt for a more contemporary version of the Socratic Seminar… whichever form of Socratic seminar your law school professor employs be aware that there are certain secrets that easily take the stress out of facing any form of Socratic questioning.
(Overall, don't forget that this is one small element of the entire picture... focus on preparing for a lawyers career and not just law school.)
Our subsequent web pages contain more information and additionally tips and tricks to handle the Socratic Method, so continue reading!
Want to learn more about the Traditional Form of Socratic Teaching Method? Read our page on
Traditional Socratic Method.
Want to learn more about the more Contemporary Form of Socratic questioning? Read our page on the
Contemporary Socratic Seminar.
How about some secrets to help you deal with Socratic Questioning? Read our page on
Secrets of the Socratic Seminar.
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