Question the Answers

Readings for this week were interesting and I’ll offer some brief thoughts before I get to my learning protein.

I’m not a fan of the flipped classroom approach.  I think work at home of any sort is a challenge as there are innumerable variables that students face.  I prefer to keep as much work in class as possible and I’m skeptical of these numbers as they might apply to a larger scale.

Gamification has potential.  I’ve tried it in the past with minor success, but unfortunately it was not a sustainable model.  It was pretty much a ton of worksheets that earned points for a game.  Not much connection there. I was learning about the processes though.  I’m honestly not sure if the kids were learning much along the way.  Sorry guys.

Play. Yes. There should be more play associated with school.  Anything from game based learning to the practice of playing with ideas and tools in a somewhat structured environment is crucial to student engagement.

But here’s the one idea that got me going.

This week I’m pumped about finding my next read. As I read through an interview with the authors, I found so much that just made sense.  My favorite statement from the article was:

inquiry is not about asking a “right” question, but it is a process of asking increasingly better questions

flickr photo by Marco Bellucci http://flickr.com/photos/marcobellucci/3534516458 shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

This made me stop for a few minutes to reflect on my own practices. I’m constantly telling kids in class and parents in conferences that the most important part of a student’s learning development is to ask questions.  Now I have to really stop and ask myself, am I helping them do that?  It definitely isn’t enough to simply ask, “Any questions?” and listen to the crickets that follow.  I need to change my approach.

I may have actually stumbled into a decent implementation of this idea with tomorrow’s assessment.  Students are debating if a recent event was actually a political revolution.  The assignment requires them to be prepared to argue yes or no or to be the moderator asking questions.  This required them to know not only the facts behind the event, but determine an acceptable definition of political revolution and develop questions that would help each side prove their point. 17031588420_c1d52a70dd_z

Students struggled at first.  Ironically enough, I find that research is not a strength among students in this age where all of the information is literally at their fingertips.  Once we got that sorted and students began to practice each role, they were coming up with some good arguments and questions.  I’ve been somewhat hands off letting them figure it out and I’m excited to see what tomorrow and Tuesday will bring.

Lincoln is an MYP school which means inquiry is an important part of our curriculum.  I  now I have  a new way of looking at what that really means.  I’m looking forward to challenging myself and students with a new outlook on the importance and value of a good question.

Question Mark by Marco Bellucci Creative Commons Licensed on Flickr
10 Reasons Why You Should Use Google Hangouts For Your Business by Joe the Goat Farmer Creative Commons Licensed on Flikr