For the SFCP education means
- Assisting people to develop capacity to live as independently-thinking rational ethical agents
- Promoting concepts of citizenship appropriate to a pluralist society
- Enabling people to make an autonomous contribution to society and their communities.
A central method used by the Society in pursuit of this purpose is the Socratic Dialogue as developed by its twentieth century founder, Leonard Nelson.
We aim through this to:
- Encourage the development of sound independent critical judgement among participants
- Cultivate a broader and deeper ethical awareness
Our method involves:
- Examining personal experience through participation in critical dialogue
- Working in a group setting with a trained facilitator
- Working towards a consensus through mutual understanding
The society has also worked with young people in schools:
Dr Rene Saran has carried out a number of Socratic dialogues with school children on topics such as ‘Is bullying a fact of life?’ She is joint editor of Enquiring Minds – Socratic Dialogue in Education, which discusses how the Socratic Method provides opportunities for educators to:
- foster rational critical thinking skills
- develop autonomy among learners
- nurture emotional intelligence and empathy
Dame Tamsyn Imison is an educational consultant who worked as a head teacher in a London school for over 16 years. Her article ‘Using Socratic Dialogue in School ‘ was published in the July 2000 edition of ‘Headlines’, published by the Secondary Heads Association. Tamsyn also contributed a chapter to Enquiring Minds (2004).