Socratic Seminars for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Ali Nouri, Ann Pihlgren


This paper explores the possibilities of the pedagogical use of Socratic dialogue as a basis for educating students diagnosed with autism. The Socratic dialogue is a particular pedagogical method used in educational settings to enhance student’s thinking and dialogic abilities. Research has proven that Socratic dialogue may result in improved language, interactive, and critical thinking abilities, as well as have effect on students’ self-evaluation. The social nature of dialogic learning may scaffold children with specific abilities to effectively interact with others and perceive those others’ emotions. Presently, education of students diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) use a variety of educational interventions, mostly inspired by behaviorist theory. These include little or no systematic use of dialogue as a pedagogical means of scaffolding students' abilities. However, several of these behaviorist methods have been tried out for a long period, educating students with ASDs, and have also proved to be successful to certain extents. In this article, we explore why and how Socratic dialogue can be used as an effective strategy for educating individuals diagnosed with autism. Hence, the investigation ends by introducing a dialogue-based teaching design that is compatible for children diagnosed with ASDs, to be explored and evaluate.


Autism, emotional abilities, social interaction, Socratic dialogue

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Copyright (c) 2018 Ali Nouri, Ann Pihlgren

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