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.

An example Socratic Dialogue

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 (1937-2017) was 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).