The first step that must be taken to understand the meaning of the term maieutics What concerns us now is to proceed to determine its etymological origin. In doing so we will discover that it emanates from the Greek, specifically from the word “maietikos” which can be translated as “helper in childbirth”.
The maieutics it’s a method or one technique which consists of asking questions to a person until she discovers concepts that were latent or hidden in her mind. The questionnaire It is developed by a teacher who must be in charge, with his questions, of guiding his disciple towards non-conceptualized knowledge.
The technique of maieutics presupposes that the truth it is hidden in the mind of each person. Through dialectics, the individual himself develops new concepts based on his answers.
The Socratic method
In general, maieutics is attributed to Socrates and it is even named as Socratic method. Some experts, however, differentiate between maieutics and the Socratic method, since they argue that the latter was based on the irony and in showing the interlocutor that what he thought he knew, in reality, was based on prejudices.
The etymological origin of mayeutics dates back to the Greek language and is linked to the obstetrics, the discipline that helps in the birth. Socrates oriented the concept towards philosophy since the maieutics helps in the birth but not of a baby, but of a thinking being.
How to develop a process of maieutics
Specifically, these are the steps that must be carried out in any maieutic process:
• The first thing is to proceed to pose a question to the student.
• Then, he will give an answer that the teacher will be in charge of doubting or simply debating.
• In this way, the creation of an authentic discussion will take place on the subject around which the question asked in the first moment revolved. The objective of this dialogue is to make the student doubt his own approach. You will feel uncomfortable and even confused because what you were very clear before, you now have in doubt and you do not know how to really defend it.
• From this situation that is generated, what occurs is that the student, at the hands of the teacher, will be able to reach not only a conclusion but also the knowledge of general but fundamental values and truths for the growth and inner enrichment of the being human.
From transmitting answers to generating questions
In this way, the clear difference that existed between the teachings of the sophists and that of Socrates becomes clear. And it is that, while in the first the teachers made exhibitions for the students to learn, the philosopher what he wanted was that his “disciples” get knowledge for themselves through the individualized help of the former.
The idea of maieutics can be transferred to education system when it is understood that knowledge is built collaboratively. The teacher should not give the student answers, but sow doubts and concerns that lead him to think and reflect until he generates his own notions. The teacher, therefore, must dialogue with the student and help him find answers in his analysis.