Journal Entry #17 – Delving into the World of Questions Once More

“Good teaching is more a giving of right questions than a giving of right answers.” – Josef Albers (1888-1976)

Back to focussing on my I-Search I have chosen to revisit how important questions are in regards to inquiry based learning. I found this article to be interesting as it is written by a teacher, named Mary-Anne Neal, who could tell that her class was losing interest in her lessons. After a few different attempts to engage her students, Mary-Anne decided to adapt her teaching style to include inquiry through asking questions and she began to see a transformation in her students.

The three main points or topics of this article are: Student Engagement, Close Ended and Open Ended Questions, and Engaging Students at a Deeper Level. When Mary-Anne discusses student engagement she talks about the shift she was able to witness when she began asking questions – her students stopped daydreaming and took an active role in their education. She also talks about the difference between close ended questions and open ended questions – stating that open ended questions allow students to elaborate on their thoughts and to have some control over the direction of their conversations where close ended questions often do not allow the same freedoms. Mary-Anne discusses how combining open ended and closed ended questions at appropriate times can help to engage students in deeper thinking. She also discusses how older students when asked appropriate questions may even be able to engage in more meta cognitive thinking – which enables students to almost take a step outside of their thoughts and reflect.

I think that a big reason i found this article so interesting is that it was written by a teacher. Her perspectives come from her own experiences and research which gave me a sense that this article was quite well rounded. I decided to revisit why questions are so important because I still feel like I could learn a lot more about asking the right kinds of questions at the right times. There are times when I feel like I am asking effective and thought provoking questions and there are other times where I feel like I could use a bit more practice. I agree that asking questions is a great way to engage students/children because it gives them a chance to become involved in their own learning which makes what they learn that much more meaningful.

When I have my own classroom one day I hope to learn the skillful art of asking questions to my students and allowing them to take part in their learning. As the quote at the top states good teaching is more about the right questions than the right answers. To me, this means that making mistakes is okay as mistakes lead t discovery which leads to understanding – which i feel like is a more holistic and natural way of learning. I think that by asking the right questions learning becomes a more well rounded experience that is more like a continuum than a line with a beginning and end. Questions lead to investigation and meaningful understanding and hopefully this is a way for students to value and appreciate their education.

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