Tag Archives: Questioning

The Key Is Good Questioning

26 Jan

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One key area that kept cropping up when looking at my teaching technique was why students don’t involve themselves in the process more. This idea of contributing more as been on my mind lately.  If I think back to my days at school, I can picture classes with friends and peers with different abilities, backgrounds and views on education.  We had some who enjoyed school.  Indeed we had a great time. We tolerated the learning bit but the school. Yes we loved it.
We had the naturally talented.  We had those who struggled.  We had some who gave their all.  We had some who wasted talent.  We had some who knew it all.  We had some who found school wasn’t for them.  Yes I real melting pot.  A wrong answer could be met with a severe put down from peers.  A great answer could result in ridicule.  The worry of the teacher finding out you have no idea left you feeling pressured, panicked or worried.  In actuality the culture of a classroom might not be that different now.
Who really knows.  But that culture where sharing answers during class questioning is safe is extremely important.  Yes we want students to challenge each other and offer opposing opinions, but we need to ensure that the environment in which questioning occurs allows everyone to contribute without the worry of ridicule or panic.  Setting clear rules, modelling how to share answers, demonstrating good protocol and scaffolding the process allow students the security to be involved.  Celebrating good answers, valuing opinions and rationally challenging ideas takes time to achieve, but setting up such a culture means a deal of hard work.
Challenging students to provide answers and contributing can be quite a task in some instances.  Setting expectations that every answer must be high quality can be even harder. Here again I believe the flipped classroom is an ideal platform.

Here are some things to think about.

  • Set that expectation that every student must speak loud enough so that they can be heard by all.  There is nothing worse when a student mumbles and the majority of the class can’t hear it.
  • Ask that they use well structured sentences and language.  Now this will take time to develop but similar to writing, students should be using specific terminology, sound structure and a range of vocabulary.  Be a stickler for slang words.  It will be tough but it is well worth it.
  • Create relational trust in the learning environment. Build and set foundations early.

What are some of your thoughts?

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Something Different for the Holidays

28 Apr

A cool little website to look at over the break is Thunks

“A Thunk is a beguilingly simple-looking question about everyday things that stops you in your tracks and helps you start to look at the world in a whole new light.”

Here are some examples of questions?

  • Is there more future or past?
  • Is black a colour?
  • If I switch the lights off does the wall change colour?
  • If you are caught in a thunderstorm will you get wetter if you run to shelter or if you walk?

They are a great way to get students thinking, which is one of the key competencies of the New Zealand Curriculum, and could be used as “Do Nows” or plenaries. Once you’ve modeled a few thunks, the students will be able to write their own to share with the class.

The independent thinking website has lots of ideas about thunks, as well as other cool stuff. They even have their own YouTube channel.

It’s all about supporting and motivating students to think independently.

Teaching Strategy – Asking Questions

8 Mar

http://stockphotolicense.files.wordpress.com/2010/05/questions1.jpg

During my class this week I took time to reflect on my own pedagogy. I found I often ask, “Does anyone have any questions?” and get no questions. I got to thinking, does this mean that students probably don’t know or understand enough to ask a question?

So, I thought to myself ask questions that will tell you if there is understanding. Just remember that just because one student gives the answer it does NOT mean anyone else knows the answer.

Ask more than one student to give the answer to the same question…
Tell me more.
Say it in a different way.
How would you say it?
Say it again.
Then ask the question in a different way and check for understanding.

 

Professional Readings

Are we over technology?
Jose Bowen, dean of the Meadows School of the Arts, HAS DECIDED TO THROW ALL TECHNOLOGY OUT of the classroom (shock horror) . His goal? To axe boring PowerPoints from the lives of students and reinvigorate their learning with engaging, human-to-human contact. http://chronicle.com/article/Teach-Naked-Effort-Strips/47398/. This is worth a read and made me think about how I use technology.

NCEA and Student Motivation
I spent time doing some post graduate study in motivation and coaching at UNSW. This piece really grabbed me. I thought this particular quote “We also found that whether or not students believe that their teachers care about them and their learning is related to their motivation to achieve” was worth thinking about. http://www.edgazette.govt.nz/Articles/Article.aspx?ArticleId=7885

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