As a teacher, have you ever heard, “You asked the wrong questions. I did not study for those questions.” When I moved into the position as Director of Educational Support Programs, I was charged with bringing in experts to help our staff with curriculum, instruction, and assessments. One of the experts for our math support made a remarkable statement one day. “We are working to create answer seekers, not answer getters.”
What do we want to create in our learners? To seek to understand? To memorize and repeat? To create, innovate, and question? As we prepare students for the world before them, what do they need?
Do we have any wrong questions to ask? I think the answer to that question is to ask more questions. Questioning is one of those areas where people can become uneasy, irritated, frustrated, and sometimes angry when questions continue. There is a great commercial on TV where a little girl is sitting in the back seat, and she asks her dad, “ What is the future?” Dad demonstrates the ability to have hands-free driving in the car in the future. Satisfied with this answer, she forms her next question. Dad, do fish get thirsty? Dad takes a deep breath and sighs.
Questioning is part of learning. I have written about questioning several times, one area I feel we need to explore deeper. The levels of our questioning will provide the depth of the learning. Then when students are always encouraged to question more profoundly and learn not to settle for a quick answer to be finished, the actual depth of learning can begin.
Our world is swift pace; got to have it now and instant answers. No one has the patience to wait for anything. We need to have more of the why, what is that, and how does, what if, does this, and I can continue with the phrases. We do not know what the future jobs will be because the rate of change is faster today than it was yesterday. Developments are happening, so the level of questioning, thinking, creativity, and innovation needs to be high.
Fill in the blank, true/false, matching are quick checks for understanding, but are not at the level of learning opportunities needed to accelerate students. It takes time to develop lessons, spaces, projects, and ideas to enhance educational environments. We can continue to increase these experiences and opportunities for all students as we enrich learning.
If we know that 2 + 2 = 4 and 2 x 2 = 4, then we also know what from this knowledge? What can we predict?
Our family will be traveling by car to Orlando, Florida. We want to make an itinerary for our trip. How many miles will we be traveling? How much will it cost for fuel? How many meals should we plan for? Do we need to stop halfway to spend the night and finish the drive the next day? How can we make the best decision for our travel? Are there things we should stop to see? What is your recommendation?
Looking at our science experiment, can you analyze the difference between the two containers. What would the result be if__________? Why did _______happen in the first container and not the second?
Why would we challenge students daily? If not now, when? There is never a better time than today.