Module 4 Learning Log 2: Teaching Students to Ask Their Own Questions

16 Oct

Throughout this course, we have read a lot of articles addressing the importance of questioning.  Most of the articles dealt with teachers constructing the questions as a way to generate discussion/ creative results (Joyce Valenza’s article For The Best Answers Ask Tough Questions and Teaching Students to Form Effective Questions by Tish Stafford jump out to me as key articles here) or ways to use questioning to guide students through the inquiry process (Leslie Preddy’s articles on pages 130 – 139 in Fontichiaro stick out to me here).  One thing I have always struggled with as a teacher is not coming up with questions for my students, but finding ways for my students to come up with their own (relevant! higher – level!) questions.

Recently, the following article, Teaching Students to Ask Their Own Questions was emailed to me.  What a revelation! The article shows how two diverse schools, using the same Question Formulation Technique (QFT) were able to get their students more involved with their own learning.  Those using the technique found that students were more likely to take charge of the answers to the questions because they had formulated the questions on their own.

The article goes though a 6 step process teachers should use when working with their students to formulate questions.  Steps 1 and 2 are to have students come up with as many questions as possible (based on a teacher provided prompt) and write them ALL down.  Steps 3 and 4 are to have students evaluate and prioritize their questions based on teacher instruction/ focus.  In step 5 the teacher and students decide the best ways to use the questions to guide class discussion or projects.  Finally, in Step 6 students reflect on how their questions guided the learning process.

I think the QFT technique would work in any grade or content level and could be employed without a lot of stress on the part of the teacher (teachers have so much on their plate, to ask them to change their techniques/ style abruptly is challenging).  I think this article is worth sharing with other teachers and librarians!

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