Some teaching is done by lectures (didactically), other by conversation or discussion (dialectically). Dialectics refers to the latter – discussion or conversation. “Socratic” refers to the ancient Greek philosopher – Socrates – who loved to use conversations and mutual inquiry as his primary method to teach and learn, just as most of us do most of the time when we are learning something new.
As we all know, giving or attending a lecture is a very different thing from participating in a conversation. The skills involved are different. Dialectics used to be taught in American schools, but the only remnants left now are found in the occasional debate class, or rarer still – a logic class. The Academy has resurrected Dialectics and Socratic Logic, for homeschooling – per the advice of Dr. Adler and others – as a weekly online discussion classes available for 3rd to 8th grade, and in the Great Books Program. Students from around the world discuss the books and important ideas in the books they read, together, in an often exhilarating experience of mutual inquiry and friendly conversation, moderated by our online faculty. There is much more about this on our website at the Great Books Program.