Sunday, June 8, 2014
Blog Post #4
Questions are an important aspect of any learning environment. They allow for a dialogue to be opened on a topic that can lead to a general discussion that can involve an entire classroom. By creating an environment in which the class is engaged, more students will be actively retaining the information. Dr. Maryellen Weimer supports this thought in her work, Three Ways to Ask Better Questions in the Classroom, by arguing that the most powerful aspect of a question is not exactly the answer, but the process in which the answer is found. She states, "Sometimes we forget when questions are most powerful, when they best engage students, and when they are at their thought-provoking best. It’s in that space between the question and the answer." Dr. Weimer is showing that the thought process initiated in the students by asking a question is the most important aspect of their learning from it. They must recall back through their previous knowledge of the subject in order to conclude what the correct answer to the question is. She argues that you must keep the question unanswered for an amount of time in order to keep the students occupied in their attempt to answer it. The importance of the question by educators in the classroom is summed up in her conclusion, "We need to ask good questions so that students see the importance of questions—how they make us think and help us learn."
The ways in which questions are asked are also an important factor. The student does not have to critically think when they are given a simple "yes or no" question. This question does not challenge them to have to go into detail about the answer they are choosing. As Dr. Andi Stix describes in her video, Open Ended Questions, there must be a higher level of thinking accessed in the student's response. By simply including the statement, "For what reasons..." or "Explain in detail..." as question openers, the students are challenged to explain their answers more thoroughly, which therefore makes them think harder about the answer. Invoking higher-level thinking and/or brainstorming will lead to student's learning more effectively from the method of questioning you use in the classroom.