Here are a couple of ideas which could be used to expand questioning beyond classroom discussion:

 

Questions could be used as part of marking and assessment. Instead of setting a target of “Improve use of apostrophes” you could pose this as a question: “How could you improve this piece by accurate use of apostrophes?” It is a subtle shift but I would argue that a question to be answered is more powerful than a statement target which can easily be ignored. I would always add a yellow box under the posed question so students can respond to the question within the box by rewriting the section / piece. The students I’ve used this with like to see clearly where they have made the improvement and it makes marking a whole lot easier too – which is something I am obviously a BIG fan of!

 

Use questions instead of objectives. Love them or hate them, lesson objectives are here to stay and, if used well, they give clarity to the lesson for your students. But what if, similarly to the point above, you turned your objective into a question? Instead of an objective of “Learning how to use possessive apostrophes”, try “Can you prove you can use possessive apostrophes?” I like the implicit challenge posed by the use of “you” here. In my opinion it also makes the learning journey of the lesson easier to track. By the end of the lesson students must be able to answer the question with a “yes”, making the plenary easy to plan. Of course this won’t work for everyone but I have used it in the past and it worked well with my students and helped me with the clarity of my lesson planning.

 

Do you use questions as part of your displays? These can be a powerful form of questioning rather than something just to cover a dull wall. For example, you could make a display truly interactive by putting up lots of different images of Lady Macbeth and pose the question “Which image do you think best represents Lady Macbeth, and why?” Answers could be written on a postcard and posted in a little box attached to the display. Add a prize for the best response and you are onto a winner! One of the best examples I have ever seen was when a colleague had a bare cardboard tree on her wall (she was a frustratingly brilliant creative type). Above it was the question “Which book are you currently reading?” and students could collect a leaf template from her, write the name of their book and its author, and stick it to the tree. It was a wonderfully subtle way to encourage reading and it was just fantastic to see the tree “blooming” as the year progressed. She even had some very reluctant readers involved!

 

 

Nearly the weekend folks, have a good one!

Questioning beyond classroom discussion

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