Since we are very excited about #QuestionWeek, we will be posting more than once this week! With the advent of the C3 Framework, inquiry standards and inquiry-based instructional practices have been a major focus for social studies teachers. The teachers we work with have been doing incredible work to get students to think critically and creatively as they explore their own questions.. We want to share what we have seen in classrooms when teachers make questioning and curiosity a priority, and students become champions of inquiry.
Our TOP FIVE outcomes in a question-filled classroom:
#1 Students keep it real. In question-filled classrooms, students are engaged in real-world issues and thinking. Just today, I saw a group of students discussing a documentary in an American Government class. When I told them they were going to have an opportunity to meet two of the people in the documentary, their questioning was unstoppable.
#2 Pre-reading strategies mean something. Purpose, purpose, purpose. Teachers who use questioning to help students find a purpose for reading and analyzing text have the ability to engage their students in sources that they might not have explored deeply with teacher-created guiding questions. Reading the title of an article, study, or source and asking questions before reading has become a beloved practice.
#3 It’s 3-D, and you don’t need an expensive printer. Our favorite social psychologist, Josh Aronson, talks a lot about the brain’s need for three dimensional problems. Questions have dimensions. Take a minute to think about a question and then take a walk around it in your mind. That’s what students do when they have the time and space to engage in questioning in a classroom.
#4 Graphic organizers are not required. Go ahead, make one if you must. But seriously, students can use their questions to make their own. Once they have identified and prioritized questions, they are much more prepared to explore ways to organize their thinking and research.
#5 Teachers look more relaxed. Well, at least on the outside. A question-filled classroom takes a lot of brainpower for everyone. Teachers with lessons that are driven by student questioning are thinking with their students. The best example of this was a student who posed this question during an intro to the Russian Revolution: “What happened to the social contract between the people and the government?”
Our political theory-loving hearts nearly exploded.