Why dialogue? The role of dialogue in education
The power of discourse to change understanding has been recognised at least since Socrates. Discourse is language consisting of more than one simple sentence connected in the form of a text or conversation. Participating in dialogue is thought to be a powerful tool for learning. In particular, forms of inquiry-based dialogue such as Socratic dialogue are thought to develop critical thinking by providing a bridge between more formal written discourses, such as the essay, and informal, spoken argument. Andrews (2003) captures the essence of how the Socratic form works in discussing a dialogue between Socrates and Lysis:
Dialogue example 1.1 Socratic-style dialogue
Socrates: I dare say, Lysis, that your father and mother love you very much? Lysis: Certainly, Socrates. Socrates: Then they would wish you to be as happy as possible? Lysis: Yes. Socrates: Is a person happy when he is a slave and cannot do what he likes? Lysis: I should think not.