Sunday, November 17, 2013

What makes a question good? (Answer: John Fortney and the number 5)

We have been taking a look at how teachers compose questions during our past ELITE sessions.  John sent this Edutopia article that helps sum it all up in five simple (powerful) questions you can ask.  Last Friday the LiNC team was given a small ring of epic question stems that could be used with students to help them think about their own learning.  It all started to come together in this post to help give some shape to this idea.

What types of answers would these five question inspire?
  1. What do you think?
  2. Why do you think that?
  3. How do you know this?
  4. Can you tell me more?
  5. What questions might (do) you still have? (Change DO to MIGHT and you will get many more open responses.  Real honest research went into that.)

I used number four with my 4th grade daughter while studying for a test.  Sam was a bit stuck with my line of questioning at first but then as I probed a bit more.  It was amazing to hear what she was learning just poured out.  One simple question and our study session changed into a fun conversation.  (I am not saying that a study session isn't fun but if you have school aged kids at home you know what I mean!)

TED - This is where the explosion of WOW happened.

What about using the Gran model of questioning?  Watch Sugata Mitra and the experiment he conducted in India.  The one twist I think was powerful is how he used this Gran idea of getting kids to think deeper about their own learning, one tiny question asked pushed kids to go deeper.  I wasn't too sure how this would work in the real world until I saw my son working with educreations.  My wife was asking him some of the questions listed above.  The answers Aidan was giving were pretty interesting.  After about five minutes I knew his understanding was pretty deep.  The Gran model really works!  Simple questions to keep Aidan engaged and talking really taught me a lot about questioning.

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