Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Asking provocative questions
Guiding questions that teachers ask should move students' thinking from the factual to the conceptual level of thinking. In her book Stirring the Head, Heart and Soul, Lynn Erickson explains how to write guiding questions. She tells us to turn generalizations into questions, for example by asking why. The generalization "community members have roles", she turns into a guiding question by asking "Why do community members have roles?"
Having read this book, I'm now finally coming to grips with when to ask why (for guiding questions) and when to ask how and so what (for moving from level 1 to level 3 generalizations).
As part of our inquiry process we have the students generate their own questions. Once again we need to be able to guide students to write good questions - so that they are not just "fact finding" during their inquiry but are actively thinking about the concepts that are embedded in their units.
Photo Credit: q is for .... by DorkyMum