Date of Conferral
Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
A global concern exists regarding the lack of critical thinking skills in young adults and college graduates. Fortune 500 companies have reported the need for better development of critical thinking and problem-solving skills to prepare employees to be successful in the workplace. This study focused on teacher perceptions of the Socratic method (SM) in developing critical thinking skills in high school students. The purpose of this descriptive qualitative case study was to describe high school teachers' perceptions regarding the development of critical thinkers via the Socratic method. Jean Piaget's theory of cognitive development was used in this qualitative study to explore perceptions of 7 teachers. The central research question and subquestions that guided this study were focused on teachers' perceptions of the SM and its effectiveness in developing critical thinking skills in high school students. Data were collected with face-to-face interviews with 7 teachers and classroom observations. Data were recorded via a systematic approach with chart and diagrams. Themes, patterns, and any identified relationships were categorized and coded to comprise data tracking. Results indicated that a lack of professional development, teacher comfort level, and student participation all played a role in low SM execution. The resulting project was designed to provide teachers with materials and learning opportunities to increase their SM skill level and stimulate teachers to use their new knowledge to increase critical thinking skills in high school students. The online professional development course evaluation provided both summative and formative assessments. The project contributes to social change by helping improve the way teachers teach and students learn the SM, which may result in improved critical thinking skills in students.