Wanting to appear erudite and in control teachers can confuse students with double barrelled questions that dilute focus. Alternately, questions can be asked that are too simple. Another identified issue is teachers accepting answers to questions that hold 50% of the intellectual value of the asked question.
The quality of questions is important to consider and hold everyone to account. Examine the house of questions graphic and examine the last session that you held where students and staff were asking questions of one another or about a topic. Each level has value and purpose but each floor should be visited with some regularity!
If the learning is framed correctly, then students will engage in each floor of questions at some point in the unit.
Agreed “hang time” should be an integral part of the class. Students need to be shown how to be comfortable in the silence whilst time is given over to consider and think about a response to a question.
This silence can be embraced and worn like a favourite jumper once used regularly and effectively. It is significantly better than an uncomfortable silence that prompts the teacher to seek a quick simplistic response accepting any old answer to quickly fill the void and move on.
Whilst there are times when we need to cajole the students into action, any inactive silence where students merely wait for someone else to do the thinking provides a litmus test on whether the learning environment is scaffolded and inclusive.
The process of questions that prompt a search for answers that generate more questions can feed a mind that continues to be curious. Serving up a ground floor (or first floor depending on where you grew up) recall question as proof of learning or understanding will prove a functioning memory process but not guarantee a thinking mind capable of sharp and creative thought.
hyphen31 (Don Collins) has been playing with technology since the days of the Apple+. On the web well before www. he continues to savour the richness of the webiverse in small bytes. He finally leapt from the couch and created this own domain & website forsaking all earlier incarnations...