As I talk and consult with classical schools and teachers, I am frequently asked what makes for great Socratic teaching. Good Socratic teaching is an art that is hard to define and takes time to master. Every Socratic class is a kind of performance or drama, and no class (even with the same students) will be the same. I hope to take some time on this blog to define and explore great Socratic teaching, because without it no one will build a truly excellent upper school. I would like to start, however, by showing and example of excellent Socratic teaching. The featured teacher is Grant Horner who is dean of the rhetoric school at the Trinity Classical Academy in Santa Clarita, CA. Grant is a master teacher (in my opinion) and also a professor at the Master’s College where he teaches literature and philosophy. Grant is also a Fellow with the Alcuin Fellowship (which is part of the Institute for Classical Schools). In my view, this video is worth showing to new upper school teachers for analysis and inspiration. His topic is culture and film.
One final note of thanks: This video was made in November, 2010 in a sophomore class at the Regent’s School of Austin. Grant was a guest teacher in the class. Thanks to the Regent’s School for permission to tape this class and to Dr. Rosenberg and his 10th grade class for hosting Grant.