5 Ways to Help Your Students Become Better Questioners The humble question is an indispensable tool: the spade that helps us dig for truth, or the flashlight that illuminates surrounding darkness. Questioning helps us learn, explore the unknown, and adapt to change. That makes it a most precious “app” today, in a world where everything is changing and so much is unknown. And yet, we don’t seem to value questioning as much as we should. For the most part, in our workplaces as well as our classrooms, it is the answers we reward -- while the questions are barely tolerated. To change that is easier said than done. How to Encourage Questioning 1. Asking a question can be a scary step into the void. 2. This is a tough one. 3. Part of the appeal of “questions-only” exercises is that there’s an element of play involved, as in: Can you turn that answer/statement into a question? 4. 5. If the long-term goal is to create lifelong questioners, then the challenge is to make questioning a habit -- a part of the way one thinks.
Class Discussion to Encourage Critical Thinking: Resources for Grades 9-12 About Socratic Seminars Socratic Seminars: Patience & Practice <img class="media-image media-element file-content-image" src="/sites/default/files/styles/content_image_breakpoints_theme_edutopia_desktop_1x/public/content/73/video.gif?itok=pmoQLTDv" alt="" /> (Teaching Channel, 2013) At Mountain View High School in Mountain View, California, teacher Paige Price discusses how she uses Socratic Seminars in her classroom to address the question, “What’s the purpose of poetic language?” Make sure to check out the supporting materials related to the featured activities, including scoring and student preparation guides. Back to Top Downloads from Schools that Work Connectors for Socratic Seminar <img class="media-image media-element file-content-image" src="/sites/default/files/styles/content_image_breakpoints_theme_edutopia_desktop_1x/public/content/08/pdficon.gif? More Blogs About Class Discussion Have you used Socratic seminars or other classroom discussion models in your classroom?
Critical Thinking Toolbox: How to Brainstorm Brainstorming is an essential part of critical thinking and a tool that people use to invent an idea, find a solution to a problem, or answer a question. Like: naming a puppy, or . . . Prehistoric Man: "I wonder why all the stars move around in the same way every night, except for just a few? Those few wander about from night to night." Prehistoric Friend: "Why do we need to know that?" Philosophical Man: "Maybe it's because they are gods and follow their own rules." Philosophical Friend: "Maybe it's because they got knocked loose from the celestial ceiling and are kind of just rolling around up there." Scientific Man: "Maybe the planets move around earth in funny little loops." Skeptic: "It's probably all an optical illusion." Galileo: "Maybe earth isn't the center of the universe like we thought. Credit: Hans & Nathaniel Bluedorn Considering a lot of bad ideas before we get to a good one is how brainstorming works. 6 Elements of the Perfect Brainstorm Brainstorming is simple and natural. 1.
The Power of "I Don't Know" The role of teaching has evolved. No longer are we the carriers of knowledge, giving it to students and assessing if they can repeat facts successfully. We are, instead, tasked with teaching students how to find answers themselves. And it all starts with a simple three-word phrase: I don't know. Adopting a comfortable "I don't know" attitude is far more accurate for what we need to do as educators then pretending we know it all. But in school where every client is a work in progress, we need to cultivate a certain excitement in not knowing something. Changing Attitudes At the start of each year, I have to train students that I will not be feeding them answers. Rather, I will teach them how to develop questions. I will also teach them that when I ask them a question it's OK if they say, "I don't know." "I don't know" has been so negatively ingrained that it can make a student feel powerless enough that just the mere inkling of it tickling their brain can shut down learning. 1. 2. 3.
Students Evolve from Consumers to Critics and Creators Critical-thinking skills -- and fluency in multimedia production -- are integral to media literacy. Running Time: 8 min. For many students, what happens in the traditional American classroom is boring. Small wonder, when you compare such relatively inanimate stuff as pencil-and-paper-bound reading, writing, and math drills to the media mix of mind-bending imagery and hair-raising sound that consumes most of their waking hours outside school. A recent study, "Generation M: Media in the Lives of 8- to 18-Year-Olds," found that students in grades 3-12 spend an average of six hours and twenty-one minutes plugged in to some type of media each day. Accounting for multitasking, the figure jumps to about eight and a half hours including nearly four hours of TV viewing and forty-nine minutes of video game play. Credit: Edutopia Cue the herald trumpets, and enter the National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE), an organization that promotes media literacy as an essential life skill.
College Readiness: Reading Critically We have a generation of students that are trained to automatically trust the textbook, or for that matter, trust anything that is written. Today, many students don't know how to read things with a grain of salt. So how do we go about fixing this? Well, first we have to get them to read, then get them to read critically. Dr. Today, Mike Rose is a professor at UCLA's Graduate School of Education and Information Studies. Between the Lines Reading has to be synonymous to thinking. With all of that creative learning juice flowing in student's brains while they read, it would be a shame not to take advantage of it. We should teach students to identify concepts while they read and then judge which of them is a key concept. Have you heard of the residue of thinking? As you can see, using Cornell Notes the right way can help students read critically, which by the way helps them remember what they read. Going Digital What strategies have you found to be effective in helping students read critically?
What Is Design Thinking? How might we engage students more deeply in reading? -- Karen, learning specialist How might we create a classroom space that is more centered around the needs and interests of the students? How might we create a more collaborative culture for teachers at our school? How might we connect more with our neighborhood community? How might we create a district-wide approach to curriculum that engages the 21st century learner? As educators, we are designing every single day -- whether it's finding new ways to teach content more effectively, using our classroom space differently, developing new approaches to connecting with parents, or creating new solutions for our schools. Wherever they fall on the spectrum of scale -- the challenges facing educators today are real, complex, and varied. Design Thinking is one of them. Design Thinking is a process and a mindset It's human-centered It's collaborative Designing requires conversation, critique and all-out teamwork. It's experimental It's optimistic
Understanding How the Brain Thinks Understanding How the Brain Works For 21st century success, now more than ever, students will need a skill set far beyond the current mandated standards that are evaluated on standardized tests. The qualifications for success in today's ever-changing world will demand the ability to think critically, communicate clearly, use continually changing technology, be culturally aware and adaptive, and possess the judgment and open-mindedness to make complex decisions based on accurate analysis of information. The most rewarding jobs of this century will be those that cannot be done by computers. For students to be best prepared for the opportunities and challenges awaiting them, they need to develop their highest thinking skills -- the brain's executive functions. Factory Model of Education Prepares for "Assembly Line" Jobs Automation and computerization are exceeding human ability for doing repetitive tasks and calculations, but the educational model has not changed. Climb high.
Critical Thinking Pathways Critical thinking is trendy these days. With 6.3 million hits resulting from a Google search -- six times "Bloom's Taxonomy" -- its importance is undeniable. Worldwide, critical thinking (CT) is integrated into finger-painting lessons, units on Swiss immigrants, discussions of Cinderella, and the Common Core State Standards. In short, critical thinking is more beloved than Egyptian cotton. Definitions abound. "Seeing both sides of an issue." -- Daniel Willingham "An ability to use reason to move beyond the acquisition of facts to uncover deep meaning." -- Robert Weissberg "A reflective and reasonable thought process embodying depth, accuracy, and astute judgment to determine the merit of a decision, an object, or a theory." -- Huda Umar Alwehaibi "Self-guided, self-disciplined thinking which attempts to reason at the highest level of quality in a fair-minded way." -- Linda Elder Jarno M. Meanwhile, watch out for CT posers. "How is that critical thinking?" Joe Lau's CT Framework Inquiry
What Teachers Need to Know about Critical Thinking Vs Creative Thinking December 7, 2014 When it comes to differentiating critical thinking from creative thinking, things get a little bit blurry as there is no consensus as to what really defines these processes. This lack of consensus is particularly reflected in the various meanings creative thinking takes in different disciplines.For instance, in business and corporate world, creative thinking is synonymous with entrepreneurship, in mathematics it stands for problem solving, and in education it carries connotations of innovation. While there is no agreed upon definition for these two types of thinking, a comprehensive body of literature confirms the fact that creative and critical thinking are not identical. They involve, more or less, different cognitive processes and have different strategies (see this page for references). Here is how Beyer (1987) compares the two processes: Also, check out this table to learn about some of the differences between creative and critical thinking. Creative Thinkers
The Question Game: A Playful Way To Teach Critical Thinking The Question Game by Sophie Wrobel, geist.avesophos.de The Question Game: A Playful Way To Teach Critical Thinking Big idea: Teaching kids to ask smart questions on their own A four-year-old asks on average about 400 questions per day, and an adult hardly asks any. In A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas, Warren Berger suggests that there are three main questions which help in problem solving: Why questions, What If questions, and How questions. Regardless of the question, the question needs to be phrased openly and positively in order to achieve positive results – a closed or negative question only raises bad feelings against each other. Why questions help to find the root of a problemWhat If questions open up the floor for creative solutionsHow questions focus on developing practical solutions Learning Goal: A Pattern Of Critical Thinking Introducing The Question Game Evaluating Learning Progress
13 Essential 21st Century Skills for Todays Students Educators and workforce experts alike often warn that our children need improved 21st century skills. Without these skills, they will not be able to successfully participate in the global economy. They won’t be adequately prepared for college and work. But what, exactly, are 21st century skills? It depends on who you ask. More than Computers & Technology Hanover Research recently analyzed six major educational frameworks designed to improve the development of 21st century skills. While each framework has slightly different list of critical 21st century skills, all agree on four critical areas for development: Collaboration and teamwork Creativity and imagination Critical thinking Problem solving “It is easy to see how these skills could be valuable to a new high school graduate and to employers, as well as how these skills can easily interact with one another,” according to the Hanover Research report. Other Critical Skills for Success Deeper Dives
What are 21st century skills? The 21st century skills are a set of abilities that students need to develop in order to succeed in the information age. The Partnership for 21st Century Skills lists three types: Learning Skills Critical Thinking Creative Thinking Collaborating Communicating Life Skills Flexibility Initiative Social Skills Productivity Leadership New Skills for New Jobs These skills have always been important for students, though they are particularly important in our information-based economy. To hold information-age jobs, though, students also need to think deeply about issues, solve problems creatively, work in teams, communicate clearly in many media, learn ever-changing technologies, and deal with a flood of information. Demand in the Workplace These are not just anecdotal observations.