What is the Socratic oath?

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In the classical world there was a Hippocratic Oath (to constrain the professional conduct of doctors of medicine) and a Socratic Method (a widely agreed protocol as to what consituted licit and dubious methods of argument and deduction).

In recent years some educators have invented a Socratic Oath, which is supposed to be a set of professional guidelines for paedagogues.

There are many different versions of the Socratic Oath. This is unsurprising, since in most cases the Socratic Oath is a Trojan Horse locally improvised to include some private faith-based agenda into a given institution's teaching strategy.


One such Socratic Oath formulation states:

As teacher and educator I undertake,
  • to respect and to defend against anyone the uniqueness of each child;
  • to stand by for his and her physical and mental integrity;
  • to take aware of his and her emotions, to listen to him and her, to take him and her seriously;
  • to search for his consense for all I will do to this child, as I would do with an adult person;
  • to interprete the rules of his development in the most positive way and to support the child to accept these own rules;
  • to challenge and to promote his gifts and potentials;
  • to protect him, where he is weak, to support him, where it is needed, in overcoming fear and guilt, malice and falsehood, doubts and mistrust and snivelling self-help addiction;
  • not to break his desire, not even where it appears nonsensical, but to support him to take his will under the reign of his reason, to teach him so the mature use of mind and the art of negotiating understanding;
  • to prepare him to take over responsibility within and for the community;
  • to let him learn the world how it is without subjugate to the world how it is;
  • to make him feel what a good life might mean;
  • to give him a vision of a better world and the confidence that it might be achievable;
  • to teach truthfulness, not the truth because "it is with God alone".
So that I undertake,
  • to give example, as well as I can, how to deal with difficulties, challenges, opportunities of our world and with his own limited gifts and how to cope with his own always given guilt;
  • to ensure, according to my power, that the next generation will find a world wothwhile to live in, and where the inherited burdens and difficulties will not crush ideas, hopes and forces;
  • to justify publicly my beliefs and deeds, to expose myself to criticism, particularly of stakeholders and experts, and to suspend my judgements by continuous and
    conscientious review;
  • and to resist to all people and circumstances, interest of parts or service provision, if I believe they might hinder intentions expressed here.
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