Socratic Seminars for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders

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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.

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How to Cite
Nouri, A., & Pihlgren, A. (2018). Socratic Seminars for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Dialogic Pedagogy: A Journal for Studies of Dialogic Education, 6.
Author Biographies

Ali Nouri, Malayer University, Iran

Ali Nouri is an assistant professor in department of educational studies at Malayer University, Iran. His research interests are dialogic pedagogy, neuroscientific foundation of curriculum, theories of learning and teaching, educational neuroscience and neuroedcational research. He is involved in several projects concerning the implications of brain research for educational policy and practice. Ali is now the director of Neuroeducation Studies SIG which works under the supervision of Iranian Curriculum Studies Association. The SIG aim is to reflect the recent advances in the field of neuroeducation studies.

Ann Pihlgren, Ignite Research Institute, Sweden

Ann S. Pihlgren, PhD, research director at Ignite Research Institute has worked as supervisor, principal, teacher, quality controller, chairman of the political school board, and vice principal and educator at Stockholm University. She is involved in several projects concerning school development, pedagogical improvement, and leadership training, in Sweden, Europe, and the USA. Her doctoral dissertation “Socrates in the Classroom” was a thorough investigation of the Socratic traditions in education, and a phenomenological analysis of the interplay of youngsters philosophizing as part of their classroom syllabus. It was awarded “Swedish dissertation of the year” 2008. Ann has also received the Swedish award for enhancing school democracy, DAKS. Her literary book production includes: “Socratic Dialogue in Education”, “Democratic Educational Methods”, and “The Thinking Classroom”. Her research interests concern thinking, cooperative learning, democratic education, and consequences in teaching.