Archive for the ‘curriculum’ Category

Are Essential Questions really essential to students?

December 16, 2010

The other day as I was listing several EQ’s on the board for students to copy into their agendas, a student inquired, “Why do you have to write these questions every day?” I wanted to know exactly what he meant. It seemed to me that I had been following the charge set for by our curriculum department to use EQ’s to guide instruction and as a kind of end-in-mind target for students to achieve, by developing their own answers to the questions as an assessment of their learning. I probed for a clue.

How many questions does it take to determine authenticity?

The response was surprising. “Shouldn’t we be the ones asking the questions?” he persisted.Is it possible that by stating EQ’s we are robbing students of the curiosity they need to drive their learning?

I teach 3rd grade and it’s a wonderful age because students are going through a self awakening. They are becoming better observers of the world, connecting the dots and truly questioning things. They do raise questions and from time to time these question challenge me to take a closer look at my practice. I have always been interested in questions and questioning. Like most teachers you have been taught to use a variety of questioning techniques to get the neurons to fire more furiously inside a students cerebellum. Now I wonder, how can I teach my students to ask better questions so they can really learn what they desire to learn? Imagine a classroom of students who really knew how to dig and probe and question! It sounds exhausting but somehow it just might unleash the wisdom of creative problem solvers to tackle the challenges of the future. Self directed learning comes from asking intrinsically meaningful questions.

So I ask you, how can we get our students to ask more and better questions so they will not be satisfied until they discover the answers?

I found this resource, when I googled ‘students ask the questions’
http://www.engines4ed.org/

“Real thinking never starts until the learner fails.” -Robert Schank