Today my biology classes used the Socratic method to learn about stem cells. The previous night's homework had been to read the one page of the textbook that related to stem cells and to then locate an article that they understood. Students were to study and print the article and come to class prepared to discuss. The following day the tables were arranged in a square around the room. Students were given a handout of The Six Types of Socratic Questions and told to review them in terms of their articles. We then began a line of questioning that I hoped would lead to both their further understanding of stem cells and their understanding of how to ask critical questions.
Some classes need more direction than others; some are able to run with it on their own. There were moments when everyone wanted to put in their two cents. Some students dominated but it was a requirement that each student participate. Even quieter students benefit from listening to the discussion.
At the end of the day, teachers were asking me if we were going to continue the stem cell discussion - students had apparently been talking about it all day.