‘The kinds of questions teachers ask determine how far the discussion deepens children’s learning and understanding.’ (Wiliam 2008)
After embedding metacognition through learning powers, growth mindset and the learning pit, we worked on higher level questioning.
We trained ourselves using these question sets, a week at a time, until we were fluent in questioning. We team taught in lesson study groups, Japanese style, to hone our lesson delivery.
eg. In P4C
Is cheating in the Olympics the same as cheating in tag?
- Can you justify your opinion?
- What would someone who disagreed with you say?
- What is the difference between that view and your view?
- Is there another point of view?
Heated discussion prevailed. Opinions from the two camps included:
… guides the direction of a lesson and planning for individual needs.
… essential for good learning.
… allows us to respond to needs quickly.
… allows us to find out what they know, understand and where they make errors, and have misconceptions, when they are not engaged.
… allows learning needs to be evaluated at every stage to ensure all children are making progress and for next steps need to be informed.
… guiding questions through use of P4C can lead to deeper understanding on the part of the teacher or pupil.
As Wiliam said ‘We need to activate learners as instructional resources for one another.’. An unexpected outcome has been the children taking the questions from us and using them on each other. Pupil autonomy in action and of course they listen to each other more than they listen to adults!
… never dodge a good question…