Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Here’s the story of a professor who failed to get tenure because he used the Socratic method:
Some students didn't take well to Steven Maranville’s teaching style at Utah Valley University. They complained that in the professor’s “capstone” business course, he asked them questions in class even when they didn't raise their hands. They also didn't like it when he made them work in teams.
Those complaints against him led the university denying him tenure – a decision amounting to firing, according to a lawsuit Maranville filed against the university this month. Maranville, his lawyer and the university aren't talking about the case, although the suit details the dispute.
The article in Inside Higher Ed offers details, relates stories of other professors who used the Socratic method and hurt their careers, and offers some pros and cons of teaching this way. As for me, as a student, I never liked the Socratic method, and as a teacher, I am not particularly skillful in employing it. As a result, I use it sparingly and rely on other methods of teaching, including various interactive methods.