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Descriptor #6 Teacher Provides focused feedback and questions to

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Teacher provides focused feedback
and questions to students that :
 Activate prior knowledge
 Probe students’ conceptual
 Lead to deeper understanding
What do you know about
questioning techniques?
Give one, get one: 2 minutes to think, 2
minutes to share
• Under “Give one” write:
– What do you know about questioning
– What problems do you have with questioning
in your classroom?
• Under “Get one” write two new things you
learn from two other partners.
Why Questioning Matters:
• Instruction which includes posing questions
during lessons is more effective in producing
achievement gains than instruction carried out
without questioning students.
• Oral questions posed during classroom
recitations are more effective in fostering
learning than are written questions.
• Questions which focus student attention on the
most important points of the lesson result in
better comprehension than questions which do
• Questioning makes student thinking visible and
provides immediate feedback to the teacher.
Question their background
knowledge first!
• Guide students from the known to the unknown
• Use cues, questions, and organizers to set the
stage for learning
• Before new knowledge can be incorporated into
student’s existing schema, the schema must be
• Start by asking what students already know
• Focus on content that is most important, not on
what students will find most interesting (hopefully
you can make important content interesting!)
• You can discover and clear up misconceptions by
taking time to ask questions before you begin a unit
of study!
Hook their interest! Make questions
an “itch”, not a “scratch”
Odd fact, anomaly, counterintuitive example
Provocative entry question
Problem or issue
Experiment—predict outcome
Role-play or simulation
Personal experiences
Emotional connection
Making Hooks “hookier”:
• How does a peer
group influence the
beliefs and actions of
early adolescents?
• Was Gorbachev a
hero or a traitor to this
• How do the structure
and behavior patterns
of insects help them
• Who do some people
act stupid when they
are in groups?
• Who blew it?
• What good is a bug?
The goal in design is neither to pander to
the students’ likes nor to cause them to fear
bad results. The design challenge is to tap
intrinsic motivation more effectively. As
Bruner put it long ago, “The best way to
create interest in a subject is to render it
worth knowing, which means to make the
knowledge gained usable in one’s thinking
beyond the situation in which learning has
Understanding by Design
Wiggins & McTighe
Today’s Essential Question
• How do students
• If students don’t
benefit when
like answering
questioning is used
questions why
as an instructional
should we ask
• How can teachers • How can I get my
improve the use of
students to answer
questions without
violating the
“Fat” v. “Skinny” Questions
“Fat” Questions
• Higher cognitive questions
– require students to take knowledge and/or skills they
have learned and manipulate that information to
create an answer or to support an answer with
logically reasoned evidence.
• “Fat” questions are also called
Open ended (no definite answer)
“Skinny” Questions
• Lower Cognitive questions
– Recall verbatim or in student’s own words
material previously read or taught by the
– “Skinny” questions are also called:
Closed (only one right answer)
What kind of
question is used
• 60% lower cognitive
• 20% higher cognitive
• 20% procedural
Should All questions be “Fat”?
• “Skinny” question more effective when
teacher wants to give factual knowledge
and help students commit those facts to
• If using “skinny” question, level of difficulty
should elicit correct responses
• In classes above primary level, a mix of
“fat” and “skinny” questions is superior to
exclusive use of one or the other.
Benefits of Higher Cognitive Questions:
• Using more than 20% produces superior
learning gains for secondary students
• Using 50%+ increases:
On-task behavior
Length of student responses
Number of relevant contributions volunteered by students
Number of student-to-student interactions
Student use of complete sentences
Speculative thinking on the part of students
Relevant questions posed by students
Teacher expectations about student abilities, especially for
students regarded as slow or poor learners
Teach students to write different
Levels of Questions:
In the text:
• Right there!: You can put your finger on the
place in the text where the answer is found.
• Pulling it together: You have to put the answer
together using different parts of the text.
In my mind:
• On my own: The answer is not in the text, but
reading the text will help you know how to
• Author & me: You have to answer by
combining what you find in the text with what
you already know. (For more advanced
Concept Question Chain
• Select an important concept or theme from text
• Write a chain of questions about this concept of
theme that include:
– Right there
– Think and Search
– On My Own
• After students have read and written answers,
lead a discussion of the questions.
• Follow up with a performance task that
demonstrates their understanding.
Discussion Web
• Students read and think individually
• Students compare thinking with a partner
• Partners pair up with another set of
partners and groups of four compare
thinking and discuss.
• Call on a spokesperson from each group
to share the group’s thinking
• Open topic up for further discussion whole
Discussion Web
giant mad
Wrong to
steal, go
to jail
Giant had
of his
Jack got
Didn’t ask
Was it all right for Jack
to take things from the
giant’s castle?
Giant was
Yes Jack didn’t
think he
He’d be
He & his
mother had
Questioning techniques
• Knowledge: Eliciting factual answers,
testing recall and recognition
• Comprehension: translating interpreting,
and extrapolating
• Application: to situations that are new,
unfamiliar, or have a new slant for
• Analysis: breaking down into parts, forms
• Synthesis: Combining elements into a
pattern not clearly there before
• Evaluation: According to some set
criteria and state why
What do you remember about . . . ?
How would you define . . .?
How would you identify . . .?
How would you recognize . . .?
Describe what happens when . . .?
How? Where? Who? Why? What? When?
Stop and write a knowledge
question you could use in
tomorrow’s lesson.
How would you compare …? Contrast…?
How would you clarify the meaning…?
How would you differentiate between…?
How would you generalize…?
How would you express…?
What can you infer from…?
What did you observe…?
How would you identify…?
Stop and write a
question you could
What would happen if…?
use in tomorrow’s
What actions would you take to perform…?
How would you develop…to present…?
What other way would you choose to…?
What would the result be if…?
How would you demonstrate…?
How would you present…?
How would you change….? Stop and write an
application question
How would you modify…?
you could use in
How could you develop….? tomorrow’s lesson.
Why does… work?
How can you classify…according to…?
How can you compare the different parts…?
What explanation do you have for…?
How is…connected to…?
Discuss the pros and cons of ….
How can you sort the parts….?
What is your analysis of …?
What can you infer …?
Stop and write an
analysis question
What ideas validate…?
you could use in
How would you explain…?
tomorrow’s lesson.
What can you point out about …?
What alternative would you suggest for…?
What changes would you make to revise…?
How would you explain the reason…?
How would you generate a plan to…?
What could you invent…?
What facts can you gather…?
Predict the outcome if…?
What would happen if…?
Stop and write a
synthesis question
How would you portray…?
you could use in
Devise a way to…
tomorrow’s lesson.
How would you compile the facts for…?
What criteria would you use to assess…?
What data was used to evaluate….?
What choice would you have made….?
How would you determine the facts….?
What is the most important….?
What would you suggest….?
Stop and write an
How would you grade….?
evaluation question
What is your opinion of….?
you could use in
How could you verify….?
tomorrow’s lesson.
What information would you use to prioritize…?
Rate the …
Another way to classify questions:
Core questions
• Cue, direct thought &
• Focus on:
Processing questions
• Narrow focus of
• Elicit a variety of
responses from different
• Let students give
evidence for their ideas
• Help students create
relationships between
ideas and evidence
• Average wait time teachers allow after posing a
question is one second or less
• Students whom teachers perceive as slow or
poor learners are given less wait-time than
students teachers perceive as more capable
• For lower cognitive questions successful wait
time is 3 seconds
• For higher cognitive questions the more wait
time teachers give, the more engaged students
become and the better they perform
For students, 3+ seconds wait time :
Improves achievement
Improves retention
Increases number of higher cognitive responses
Increases length of responses
Increases number of unsolicited responses
Decreases failure to respond
Increases amount of quality evidence used to
support inferences
• Expands variety of responses
• Increases student-to-student interactions
• Increases number of questions posed by students
And for teachers, 3+ second wait time:
• Increases flexibility of teacher responses
(teachers listen more and engage students
in more discussions)
• Increases expectations for students
usually perceived as slow
• Expands the variety of questions asked
• Increases number of higher cognitive
questions asked
How to respond to student
• Use student responses to form your next
question and narrow the focus of the
• Probing questions help you know how
deeply the student is thinking
• Teacher redirection and probing help
student achievement when they focus on
clarity, accuracy, plausibility of student
How do students feel about
• Generally fear them, which stops learning
• We usually only ask a 2nd question when
the first response was wrong = students
have an aversion to the 2nd question
• If redirection/probing are vague or critical
(“That’s not right; try again”; “Where did
you get an idea like that?”) students may
not continue to respond and achievement
does not improve.
Your response to their answers will
determine whether or not they
continue to answer!
• Acknowledge correct responses
• Listen carefully to student responses!
• Praise of student responses should be
sincere and credible and should be used
• Establish community where all answers
are accepted as a gift – model
this for your students
Teach students how to
state their opinions – civic
• I think, I feel, I believe . . .
• Support with reasons, facts,
• Use reasonable tone of voice
– good manners
Don’t Forget:
• Ask questions that focus on most important
elements of the lesson
• Ask questions before and after material is read
and studied
• Scaffold lower ability students: ask lower
cognitive questions, gradually transitioning to
higher cognitive questions. Ensure student
success during questioning experiences.
• Teach students strategies for making inferences.
• 3 seconds for lower cognitive questions
• More than 3 seconds for higher cognitive
• Allow generous wait time for lower ability
Teaching inference making
• Model first
– Ask an inference question
– Answer it
– Find clues in the text to support the inference
– Tell how to get from the clues to the answer
• Have students practice with simple text
• Gradually have students make inferences
with more difficult text
Use the WASL stems document to
help you know what kinds of
questions students will need to
handle on the WASL
Classroom Questioning
• “School Improvement Series” Close-up #5 by
Kathleen Cotton
• Mentoring Minds Critical Thinking Wheel
developed by Michael L. Lujan.
• Haynes, Judy. “How to develop questioning
strategies.” 2004, 4/12/07.
Review today’s essential questions:
• How do students benefit when
questioning is used as an
instructional strategy?
• How can teachers improve the
use of questioning strategies?
Fill out “Taking Action” sheet to reflect on
what you learned.
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