It is not surprising that some have tried it unsuccessfully with their students and consider the method to be utopian. José María Torralba points out that “it is worth remembering that on many occasions this invitation is made in such a way that it becomes unpleasant. That is to say, when the book is the subject of an exam, either because we are going to be examined on various fragments or because it is part of the selection process, it becomes merely an object of study, and that doesn’t help. The key is that access to these classic works of literature is done in a context that manages to generate interest”. How can interest be aroused? It has been shown that the Socratic method of question-answer and conversation are proven to be key elements in arousing interest in young people. They need to participate, express their ideas and share them with others. This generates a dialogue and an exchange of perceptions among the pupils. The role of the teacher is to suggest questions that stimulate critical thinking and the search for answers, to guide and channel the different observations of the young people. This is the way to enhance their intellectual capacity.
In Torralba’s words, we find ourselves in an epochal change that urges the need for points of reference and guidance, where the first ones in need are the young. “It is not a question of showing them the way or not counting on their freedom, but neither is it a question of abandoning them to their fate”. So how can they be helped? One of the best ways is to bring them “into contact with the cultural tradition”. Why? Because the book “asks questions such as what is good, what is freedom, what is a just society, what is the human person”. The problems of the human being are always the same. There is no evolution in this sense: love, loss, friendship, betrayal, justice, abuse of power and poverty. “Through literature, through philosophy, through the examples of history, one can learn from cultural tradition and, therefore, gain experience and have points of reference.