Saturday, September 28, 2013
Blog Post #6: Asking Questions
"What do we need to know about asking questions to be an effective teacher?" -Dr. Strange
Project based learning is successful when students are actively engaged in what they are learning. A very effective way to keep students engaged is to constantly ask them questions.
Asking Questions in the Classroom
In the YouTube video Asking Better Questions in the Classroom Pt. 1, Joanne Chesley mentions that teachers get exactly what they ask for when they ask students questions that do not invite extended or thoughtful kinds of responses. After doing research, I found that there are two types of questions: closed-ended questions and open-ended questions. Closed-ended questions are answered with a yes or no response, or a brief phrase. An open-ended question encourages participation and provides the teacher with more information. It is important that teachers ask good questions in the classroom that require the student to think deeply in order to respond.
Maryellen Weimer suggests three actions to improve questioning in her blog post Three Ways to Ask Better Questions in the Classroom. The first action Maryellen Weimer suggests is to prepare questions before class. Asking questions in the moment can confuse students if worded unclear or in a misleading way. When preparing content in advance, teachers should also prepare the questions they plan on asking their students. Preparing questions in advance will allow the teacher to construct the wording and concepts of the questions in a clear manner. The second action Maryellen Weimer suggests is to play with questions. Teachers need to be aware of when a question could be most powerful and engaging during a lesson. If teachers ask questions that require a response immediately, students are not using a deep thought process to provide an extended response. An effective way of teaching is to ask a question, leave it unanswered for a while, and allow students to use strategies to answer the question. The questions can be discussed a few days after when more information and a greater understanding enables a better answer. The third action Maryellen Weimer suggests to improve questioning is to preserve good questions. Good questions can be kept and reused. She also recommends making notes of the really good answers that students provide in previous classes. When introducing these questions with a new class, speak about good responses from a previous class in order to start the students' thought process.
Questions in My Future Classroom
In my future classroom, I will ask questions that encourage students to use a deep thought process. I want the questions asked in my classroom to be more of an interactive discussion among the class, creating an engaging learning environment. Preparing questions before a lesson, assessing them after a lesson, along with revising the questions after they are discussed will assist in making me a more effective teacher. I want my students to feel comfortable asking me questions and challenging me as an educator. I hope I can also learn through questioning my students in order to become the most effective teacher I can be.