Socrates advocates for a method of teaching that entails a lot of questioning in order to provoke rational thinking. He proposes the use of probing questions to be used in discussions, which through induction will lead the learner to the probable conclusion of the discussion at hand. While using the Socratic approach of teaching, individuals with different viewpoints to an issue are engaged in a kind of debate that is characterized by many questions meant to stimulate critical thinking and search for general truths that shape opinions. In this approach, students are expected to learn through enquiry and discovery. In this case, the teacher plays the role of a facilitator in the discussions and only guides the learners to form a certain train of thought that would lead them to a logical conclusion.
Sophists advocate for a method of teaching that is full of rhetoric rather than questions. In this case, the learner is fed with information by the teacher, as the latter is the main source of knowledge. This makes the learner play an almost passive role in the learning process. This method encourages memorization, as the students are not involved in the process of arriving at the conclusions.
Evidently, the above two approaches of teaching s have quite a number of outstanding differences. To start with, the Socratic approach is problem centered, where students are expected to learn as they attempt to solve the problem through logical reasoning. On the other hand, the Sophists approach is subject centered, where the teacher bombards the learner with every available information on the subject matter. In thee Socratic approach, the learner is involved in drawing conclusions, so learning is based upon studentís experience. This is contrasted in the Sophist approach where the teacher is the main authority in as far as knowledge is concerned, so learning is based on the teacherís experience. The student is also actively involved in the Socratic approach where he learns through enquiry/discovery which is contrasted in the Sophists approach where students learn from the teachersí rhetoric and indoctrination. The text, in Socratic approach, does not show any concession of perceived relevance since the subject is not important. This is contrasted in the Sophist approach where text shows relevance and attractiveness in order to arouse interest in the subject and ignore logic. Whereas the Socratic approach emphasizes discussion and attempts to question underlying assumptions, the Sophists approach promotes persuasive exposition of subject matter.
Other than defense lawyers, the clergy allow apply the sophists approach in their work. They are the main authority in their field and do expository teaching to their followers who are not supposed to interrogate the information given to them
Socrates believed that knowledge is virtue. He believed that after one obtained knowledge, through critical thinking, one would be transformed to live a better life. The Sophists did not share this opinion; In the first place, they argued that there was no standard of truth so knowledge could not be defined. They would also not agree with Socrates on the mode of acquiring knowledge even if they were to acknowledge that it existed. According to them, excellence in grammar, writing, and public discourse was what was of paramount importance.
Having discussed the above teaching approaches, it important to point out that in modern day teaching and learning, there is no exclusive use of one particular approach, a compromise of the two methods can be used in order to facilitate easier acquisition of knowledge by the learner. This is especially so depending on the level of education that the leaner is. For young learners who are just starting schooling, the Sophists approach should be used more while the Socratic approach could be effectively at higher levels of education.