Sunday, September 29, 2013
Blog Post #6
As a learner it is mandatory to ask questions. As a future teacher that means it is vital that I continue to improve my understanding of questioning. Ben Johnson's article is humbling, yet encouraging. It reiterates to me that it's okay to step off my high horse, so to speak, and realize that I will not know everything when I teach. The good news is that throughout life I will continue to learn new things, and when a student proposes a question that I don't know it's a great opportunity to learn.
The article by Ben confirms that the way we present questions and answers can be detrimental to students. Ben Johnson states, "...sometimes the students do not understand that they do not understand, and if they do not know what they do not know, there is no way they can ask a question about it." This statement is true, and it's terrifying how many teachers don't care. Even today in college I experience classroom settings where only a select few students are involved in asking questions. There are multiple techniques that can be used as a solution, but the website Ben linked in his article provided some fantastic resources teachers can use.
Ultimately the goal of asking questions is to get the students engaged. The Three Ways To Ask Better Questions in The Classroom article by Maryellen Weimer provides 3 easy methods you can apply to improve the question's you ask your students. First she suggest actually taking the time to prepare the specific questions you will ask your students. Teachers are quick to prepare their lesson plan or lecture, but for some odd reason they don't think twice about preparing specific questions to ask. Taking the extra time to prepare specific questions will assure that the questions you ask are clear and easy to understand.
The second method Maryellen suggests is to play with questions. Playing with the question means leaving the question unanswered for a while rather than quickly telling the students if they're right or wrong. This keeps the students pondering. I can personally remember this method being used by a few of my favorite teachers and I can remember it being successful in keeping students engaged.
The final advice she gives is to preserve good questions. If you ask a question that really seems to get the students engaged it would be wise to write it down. You can even use the responses you receive to tweak your questions, or add to your questions. The most important aspect of this technique is it can get the discussion at least started if your students are having a hard time to answer a question.
All three of the techniques Maryellen Weimer provided are great ways to get students engaged, but my favorite is the first. Taking extra time to prepare specific questions is simple, it just requires a little bit of time and effort. I do believe I will implement all three of the suggestions Maryellen provided though. This was a great read for me mainly because of how easy it is to implement all three of these methods into my teaching.
The key is getting students engaged in the process of asking questions. A learner is a questioner by nature. There is nothing more important to learning than questioning. It's vital I make sure my students are engaged and actually learn rather than just memorize material. As a future history teacher there isn't anything more important than the way I ask questions.