Week Nine: Chapter 6A Ensuring Active Thinking and Participation: Asking good questions and holding students accountable

11 Mar 2014 5:37 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Week Nine:  Chapter 6A  Ensuring Active Thinking and Participation:  Asking good questions and holding students accountable

Read pp 61-74

What are your favorite questions to ask to ensure active thinking and participation?  Why?


Do the try this. If you made an audio or video recording as suggested in the “Try This!” at the end of chapter 5, transcribe 10 minutes of the discussion you recorded.  See if you can identify any of the question types in the first half of chapter 6 or any of the five talk “moves” discussed in the second half of the chapter.  For each question or move identified, consider what impact the question or move had on the subsequent discussion.  (You might also want to consider where use of one of the question types or one of the moves may have led to a more productive outcome.)


  • 12 Mar 2014 7:29 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    I will get back to listing more of my favorite questions but was just reading the recent Marshall Memo and saw this quote, "“An effective question sizes up the context for learning, has a purpose related to the lesson and unit plan and, ideally, is related to larger essential questions in the discipline,” says Duckor." I thought I'd send it along.
    A couple of my favorites are not always questions but some times prompts:
    "Can you say more"
    "What do you mean by...?"
    "Can someone restate what ___ just said?"

    I like questions that encourage either the speaker to explain more about their thinking or that encourage the listeners to make sense of their classmate's comment and have to either rephrase what they heard or make a connection of their understanding to what their classmate said.
    Another quote,good questions can "can motivate students to pay attention and learn, develop students' thinking skills, stimulate students to inquire and investigate on their own, synthesize information and experiences, create a context for exploring ideas, and enhance students' cumulative knowledge base" (Black, 2001; Goodman & Berntson, 2000; Hyman, 1974). This is in line with what Smith and Stein write, "questioning skills that challenge student to think at deeper levels and "moves" that will help teacher hold students accountable for their... (p.61)
    I found it interesting to think about what questions "do not do."
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    • 15 Mar 2014 9:57 AM | Deleted user
      I'm grateful for your mention of the Marshall Memo; for me, a new resource!!
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  • 20 Mar 2014 3:38 PM | Deleted user
    I like questions that ask students to explain how they approached problems and how they can justify solutions. I especially like to ask students to "prove it." I find when I do that, students connect their solution strategies with a different strategy or a representation that illustrates. I think the book is right on when it discusses moves teachers can make to encourage and promote discussions, such as revoicing student ideas, having students to restate others' ideas, asking students to elaborate, and asking other students to respond to the statements of others. I find that using wait time encourages all of these things, and often teachers don't need to prompt. By waiting after a student responds, the locus of control shifts from the teacher. Students think about the statement and the reasoning, and ideas about correctness come from that rather than from the teacher.
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