SOCIETY FOR SOCRATIC DIALOGUE IN BULGARIA|
International Conference in Sofia 19 – 23 April 2007
DEMOCRATIC EDUCATION AND CITIZENSHIP: The role of Socratic Dialogue
The first international Socratic dialogue conference in Bulgaria is now over. Hosting organization was Faculty
of Philosophy at Sofia University, supported by Integra Association and Philosophy high-school teachers Association.Useful links:
The working language of the Conference was English.
The organizational committee consisted of university and high-school teachers, university students – all groups well
presented. Target groups of the conference were Bulgarian high-school teachers and university lecturers, university students and social workers.
The major aim of the Conference was to introduce Bulgarian teachers to the Socratic method as an exciting way
forward to foster democratic education in our country.
Conference programme included paper
session, 2-days Socratic dialogues, and workshops.
As an opening a presentation on the challenge of Socratic dialogue in education was made by one of the
international guests – lady Tamsyn Imison, chair Society for the
Furtheranceof Critical Philosophy (UK). What followed was an introduction the theory of Socratic Dialogue, presented by Aneta Karageorgieva,
Associate Professor, University of Sofia St. Kliment Ohridski. Veselin Dafov PhD, University of Sofia St. Kliment Ohridski, submitted
a paper focused on the invention of a topic.
All the participants had the opportunities not only to learn about the theoretical and philosophical
underpinnings of the Socratic method but also to gain first-hand experience by participation in a Socratic Dialogue with qualified
Socratic facilitators from UK and Germany. There were three Socratic Dialogue groups and the topics were “What is a good teacher?”,
“What is a good citizen?” and “Is bullying a fact of life?”.
The values, which are implicit in good citizenship, are now open to critical exploration during a
Socratic Dialogue. Engagement in the Socratic process enables group members to build a shared perspective on values, which strengthens
Consideration was also given to ways of using the method in education and applying it to social practice.
Five workshops were suggested – Philosophy with children and Socratic dialogue, Socratic dialogue as an empirical investigation, Socratic
dialogue and conflict resolution, A project week at school, Classroom and higher education: ideas for interaction.
The topic of the conference and particularly of each of the working sessions was in accordance with the
Bulgarian school problems of the day. Bulgarian teachers have not been trained and equipped to engage their students in inter-active
learning to enhance the development of an open, enquiring mind through critical thinking and discussion. It is teachers who are closest
to practices in the classroom and the country necessarily looks to them to pioneer approaches and methods appropriate to the 21st century.
To develop future citizens in the domestic and wider context, at a moment when Bulgaria is entering the
European Community, it is essential to nurture the democratic attitudes in our education. Teachers will need to develop new approaches in
their everyday classroom practice to achieve this.
Pictures from the event.
SFCP - Society for the Furtherance of Critical Philosophy
PPA – Philosophical-Political Academy