So getting comfortable in the process of asking questions is very important. That’s why it’s a good idea to begin early. Here are some strategies for strengthening the questioning skills in your students.
They’re watching and listening, all the time, whether we choose to believe it or not. If you come across as someone who questions everything, it will be evident to your students. Include think-aloud as part of your lesson, regardless of the content area. This strategy allows your thinking to become transparent, revealing much to your students.
For example, when teaching about Roman Numerals, you might wonder aloud, ‘I wonder where Roman Numerals came from - who decided to use that system? And why?’
Dialogue and Wonder
Take the same think-aloud strategy and use it more intentionally with students in a small group or one-on-one setting. In a reading group, for example, you might ask, “What do you wonder about this character?” Be sure to communicate that nothing is off the table - all answers are acceptable.
The goal is to move your students away from simply accepting everything towards evaluating and questioning the world.
Project-based learning refers to learning that is designed around a real-world problem. Instead of being contrived, it is relevant. Children know when something is fake. Often, they’ll play along. But for superior engagement and robust questions, a real-life problem will always invite higher-level learning compared to a situation manufactured by a textbook designer.
Let Children Take the Lead
PBL can seem daunting at first, but why not take baby steps by embracing inquiry-based learning? Besides encouraging curiosity and investigation, inquiry-based learning deepens learning and allows students to take ownership of their learning.
Try Genius Hour
Sometimes called Twenty Percent Time, Genius Hour originated with Google and other similar companies giving their employees twenty percent of their time to work on their own projects. This notion translates beautifully to the classroom, where students are constantly following directions, meeting standards, and being graded arbitrarily. During Genius Hour, students follow their own curiosity to drive their learning.
Many teachers use this model for one hour per week, simply continuing the workshop-type learning the next week. The only criteria for Genius Hour is that a) you must learn something new and b) you must share that learning with an audience.
About My Guest Blogger
- Classroom Teacher
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