The Repository @ St. Cloud State

Open Access Knowledge and Scholarship

Date of Award


Culminating Project Type


Degree Name

Special Education: M.S.


Special Education


School of Education

First Advisor

Bradley Kaffar

Second Advisor

Martin Lo

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Keywords and Subject Headings

Mathematics, Special Education, Socratic Method, Emotional-Behavioral Disorder


High school students across the United States continue to struggle to attain mathematical proficiency, let alone achieve deep levels of conceptual knowledge in its various fields. This is particularly true for students with special needs. In this study, the effectiveness of the Socratic method was analyzed using a study on 13 students taking geometry with emotional-behavioral disorders (EBD), autism spectrum disorders (ASD), or other health disorders (OHD), including students with comorbidities between these. Six students were in the experimental group and received the Socratic method as an instructional method for a unit lasting approximately six weeks. Seven students were in the comparison group and received traditional instruction including direct and explicit instruction.

The Socratic method has been utilized in multiple fields outside of philosophy and mathematics with varying levels of success, including the subjects of law and political theory. After looking at the history of its use and effectiveness, this study attempts to establish initial evidence that the Socratic Method should be examined as a teaching intervention for students in high school geometry to develop in-depth knowledge of the subject. In small classroom settings, such as Federal Setting IV special education schools, dialectical conversations with students can flourish and the Socratic method can be implemented as a teaching tool. Its use was shown to be effective in developing depth of knowledge in geometry concepts and problem-solving processes for high school students with special needs. The Socratic method should be used in conjunction with traditional instructional approaches to deliver comprehensive geometry lessons and improve multiple aspects of student learning in the subject.

Keywords: Mathematics, Special Education, Socratic Method, Emotional-Behavioral Disorder



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.