Questions, however, can lead to many new points of information. Questions are the source of inquiry and creativity. They multiply the diversity and scope of the learning process. (Lichtman, 43 p.)
Isn’t this what we want for our learners? Am I confident enough to collect questions before, during, and after a lesson? Am I flexible and talented enough to lead learning by following the learners’ questions?
The importance of curiosity and questioning in propelling learning is easily seen in our experience as learners. We know that when our curiosity is sparked and we have a desire to know and learn something, our engagement is heightened. (Ritchhart, Church, and Morrison, 13 p.)
Can I spark curiosity and facilitate need-to-knows that heighten engagement?
We want more students to experience the burst of energy that comes from asking questions that lead to making new connections, feel a greater sense of urgency to seek answers to questions on their own, and reap the satisfaction of actually understanding more deeply the subject matter as a result of the questions they asked. (Rothstein and Santana, 151 p.)
Satisfaction, deep understanding, urgency to learn, and bursts of energy…Wow!
Even after extensive efforts to develop understanding, we find that we may be left with more questions than when we started. These new questions reflect our depth of understanding. This depth and ability to go below the surface of things is a vital part of our ongoing development of understanding. Rather than look for or accept the easy answers, we push to identify the complexity in the events, stories, and ideas before us. In this complexity lay the richness, intrigue, and mystery that engage us as learners. (Ritchhart, Church, and Morrison, 13 p.)
I wonder if, in my past, I taught kids to be relieved to find an answer. Did I push them to find multiple paths, solutions, approaches, and answers? Did we strive for richness? Did we press to go below the surface? I know I struggled with depth and breadth. I know I struggled with the balance of coverage and understanding.
I have been argued with – lots – about these ideas. How will learners be able to ask questions if I have not taught them anything? Do we assume that learners are blank slates when they arrive to us? Do we ask first or tell first?
I agree that questions lead to new points of information. I argue that the learner was not ready to learn what was just delivered if they turn right around as ask the question that was just answered. I assume that they are ready to learn when they ask a question. I aspire embrace the challenge of ask first, follow
their our questions, and make course corrections to lead learning.
I assume that I fall victim to attention blindness as described by Cathy Davidson in Now You See It: How the Brain Science of Attention Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and Learn, last summer’s reading. I argue that I can do better, but I need help. I agree that learning episodes will be more engaging if I attend to the questions of the learners rather than exclusively the way I think and plan. I aspire to lead learning by multiplying the diversity and scope of the learning process.
I aspire to listen more, question more, and learn more.
I aspire to become a falconer.
Lichtman, Grant, and Sunzi. The Falconer: What We Wish We Had Learned in School. New York: IUniverse, 2008. Print.
Ritchhart, Ron, Mark Church, and Karin Morrison. Making Thinking Visible: How to Promote Engagement, Understanding, and Independence for All Learners. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 2011. Print.
Rothstein, Dan, and Luz Santana. Make Just One Change: Teach Students to Ask Their Own Questions. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education, 2011. Print.
[Cross posted on Experiments in Learning by Doing.]