5 Powerful Questions Teachers Can Ask Students My first year teaching a literacy coach came to observe my classroom. After the students left, she commented on how I asked the whole class a question, would wait just a few seconds, and then answer it myself. "It's cute," she added. So that day, I learned about wait/think time. Many would agree that for inquiry to be alive and well in a classroom that, amongst other things, the teacher needs to be expert at asking strategic questions, and not only asking well-designed ones, but ones that will also lead students to questions of their own. Keeping It Simple I also learned over the years that asking straightforward, simply-worded questions can be just as effective as those intricate ones. #1. This question interrupts us from telling too much. #2. After students share what they think, this follow-up question pushes them to provide reasoning for their thinking. #3. #4. This question can inspire students to extend their thinking and share further evidence for their ideas. #5.
Tools for metacognition Metacognition is an important part of intentional learning, since it involves actively thinking about what you know, what you don’t know, and how you can get better at knowing and applying what you know. A mantra for metacognition State the learning problem with some specificity: identify what you want to know and what you want to do with that knowledgeChoose strategies to solve the learning problem—draw upon your own prior knowledge and the knowledge of othersObserve how you used the strategies—keep a learning journal or blogEvaluate the results: What worked? What didn’t work?Rinse and repeat: Apply successful strategies to new learning problems By definition, metacognition involves individual commitment and reflection. How you as an instructor can help Be a role model Think aloud to show your approach to solving problems. Baby steps Help learners appreciate that they’ll grow to be better learners. A “So what? Metacognition and motivation Of course learners still need to be motivated.
Why It's Time To Start Teaching Students How To Think As an elementary teacher, I can’t help but notice that children today want quick answers and do not take the time to think things through. This is probably the result of living in today’s age of technological instant gratification. It is becoming increasingly challenging for teachers to successfully grab and hold students’ attention long enough for them to process the information they receive using critical thinking skills. Ironically, even our testing methods detract from proper thinking and analysis. We must teach our students how to think. We cannot assume that they know how. We must start modeling the thinking process for our students at an early age. We should not underestimate modeling thinking. If we begin this with students at very young ages, we can prepare them to deal properly with more complex information as they grow older. As we teach students how to think, we must include questioning as an integral part of the thinking process. Collaboration contributes greatly to learning.
Ten Takeaway Tips for Teaching Critical Thinking Suggestions from educators at KIPP King Collegiate High School on how to help develop and assess critical-thinking skills in your students. Ideally, teaching kids how to think critically becomes an integral part of your approach, no matter what subject you teach. But if you're just getting started, here are some concrete ways you can begin leveraging your students' critical-thinking skills in the classroom and beyond. 1. Questions, questions, questions. Questioning is at the heart of critical thinking, so you want to create an environment where intellectual curiosity is fostered and questions are encouraged. In the beginning stages, you may be doing most of the asking to show your students the types of questions that will lead to higher-level thinking and understanding. 2. Pose a provocative question to build an argument around and help your students break it down. 3. 4. 5. Lively discussions usually involve some degree of differing perspectives. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.
Teaching Questioning Skills to Arm Students for Learning - Work in Progress In the earliest part of my career, I wrote full procedural lesson plans that spelled out to the letter the questions I would ask AND the answers I considered correct. When the students didn't provide the proscribed answer, I asked helper questions until I elicited the appropriate response. Man, did I have it wrong! This is the battle we fight. It demands our full attention. Children are born curious; they have a hunger to learn and a thirst for understanding. Current educational institutions systematically rob curiosity from children, training them to seek one answer, the "right" one. Unfortunately, while on their predictable adventure to the right of truth, kids often lose interest in the passions that once propelled them. One way we change the level of engagement in our classroom is stop doing all of the asking. Here are some tips for teaching students how to ask good questions: First ask students what they really want to know or find out.
Connected Learning Principles We are living in a historical moment of transformation and realignment in the creation and sharing of knowledge, in social, political and economic life, and in global connectedness. There is wide agreement that we need new models of education suited to this historic moment, and not simply new models of schooling, but entirely new visions of learning better suited to the increasing complexity, connectivity, and velocity of our new knowledge society. Fortunately, we are also able to harness the same technologies and social processes that have powered these transformations in order to provide the next generation with learning experiences that open doors to academic achievement, economic opportunity, and civic engagement. What would it mean to think of education as a responsibility of a distributed network of people and institutions, including schools, libraries, museums and online communities? At the core of connected learning are three values:
50+ Tools for Differentiating Instruction Through Social Media Imagine a world where resources were limited to what was found in the classroom or the school closet known as the "Curriculum Materials Room." Picture a world where students wrote letters with pen and paper to communicate with other students and adults outside of the building. Due to postage costs, the teacher either sent the letters in bulk or paid for stamps out of his or her own pocket. Can you recall a time when student interests like skateboarding or video were never used as part of learning curriculum because the tools needed were either too expensive or not yet conceptualized? If you experienced none of these scenarios, then you live in a world of possibility because you grew up with the many social media tools available to support all learners. Selecting the Right Tool For educators differentiating instruction, social media tools embrace collaboration and global access to people and other resources. The list of social media tools to differentiate for learning is increasing.
Students Tell All: What It’s Like to Be Trusted Partners in Learning Inquiry-based learning is not a new pedagogy, but it has come back into fashion in progressive education circles recently because of new emphasis on the power of students’ innate curiosity to drive learning. Inquiry-based learning asks students to discover knowledge on their own with guidance from their teachers. Rather than receiving information up front through lectures, students research guiding questions, ask their own follow-ups and get help along the way. Learning through inquiry requires more student agency and demands that teachers and administrators trust that students will ask when they need help. Science Leadership Academy students spoke about their learning experience at the school. Nomi Martin-Brouilette said she appreciates the trust SLA’s teachers place in students to be partners in their learning. Listen to students describe the good parts and the hard parts of learning through inquiry. *These interviews were done in January, 2014 and some students have graduated.
Advent of Google means we must rethink our approach to education Would a person with good handwriting, spelling and grammar and instant recall of multiplication tables be considered a better candidate for a job than, say, one who knows how to configure a peer-to-peer network of devices, set up an organisation-wide Google calendar and find out where the most reliable sources of venture capital are, I wonder? The former set of skills are taught in schools, the latter are not. We have a romantic attachment to skills from the past. Longhand multiplication of numbers using paper and pencil is considered a worthy intellectual achievement. In school examinations, learners must reproduce facts from memory, solve problems using their minds and paper alone. The curriculum lists things that children must learn. One of the teachers who works with me said to her class of nine-year-olds: "There is something called electromagnetic radiation that we can't see, can you figure out what it is?" One of them says: "Aren't we going to do any work?" "What's work, then?"
Helping Diverse Learners Succeed My career got off to a bad start when I was hired to teach in a Minneapolis Ojibwe Survival School. That was the year that Prince's Sign O the Times dropped -- the year most of my lesson plans failed. More terrifying was the fact that I had no backup plan. I'm embarrassed now to admit that I sent over 15 kids to in-school suspension in a single morning. A chair was thrown at my head and later a waterfowl-sized stone. The attempted assaults weren't fun, but I classified them as aberrations and moved on. It took a decade for me to figure out what I did wrong -- a lot of little things, but one big thing. Today we know more strategies for helping all kinds of students succeed. Research-Based Strategies for Working with Diverse Learners A review of the research (PDF, 119KB) on teaching diverse learners sorts the "best practices" into four categories, summarized below: 1. Teachers address beliefs that lead to lower expectations of diverse students and persistently teach challenging curriculum.
What Is Web 3.0 And How Will It Change Education? We’re living in a Web 2.5 kinda world. If that makes no sense to you, check out this chart. It shows that Web 2.0 consists of cautiously adopting technology, schools are still online and offline, and parents still view school as daycare. But we’re evolving past that in short order (in education’s typical pace, that is). So what is Web 3.0 and how will it change education? This new table built by Dr. Do you agree with the descriptions in this table?