Date of Award

Spring 2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


College of Education


Department of Education

Primary Advisor

Dr. Meghan L. Griffin

Second Advisor

Dr. Janet L. Deck

Third Advisor

Dr. James V. Shuls


This hermeneutic phenomenology studied the lived experiences of four high school teachers’ Socratic practice. The purpose of the study was to describe the essence of high school teachers’ lived experience of Socratic practice and explore what the teachers’ lived experiences suggested about their understanding of Socratic practice. The data for this study were collected in semistructured interviews with four teachers. As a hermeneutic phenomenological study, the researcher did not bracket himself. Instead, he clarified his reflexivity and examined transcripts of the written interviews through a hermeneutic circle. The study found four significant themes among teachers’ descriptions of their lived experiences with leading Socratic discussions: being delighted, being troubled, being a dialogue-builder, and being Socratic. The four themes were also broken down into subthemes. The subthemes for being delighted were being delighted by different perspectives, being delighted by student ownership, and being delighted by student growth. The subthemes for being troubled were being challenged with engagement, being timebound, being self-doubting, and being conflicted. The subthemes for being a dialogue-builder were being process-oriented, being goal-oriented, being growth-oriented, being clear about expectations, being in control, and being empathetic. Finally, the subthemes for being Socratic were being a guide, being argument-followers, being observant, and being a gadfly. The teachers’ experiences suggested some disagreement about Socratic practices. The study also described the differences between Socrates’s and the teachers’ approaches to the Socratic method. The study’s findings emphasize a need for further research into the definition, purpose, and nature of Socratic practices in the classroom.